Lieut. Col. Henry Lee in 1783 by Charles Wilson Peale (1741-1827)
Lee’s Legion Remembered:
Profiles of the 2d Partisan Corps
as taken from Alexander Garden’s Anecdotes (1822 & 1828 eds.)
Edited and Annotated by Wm. Thomas Sherman,
author of Calendar and Record of the Revolutionary War in the South: 1780-1781.
Lee’s Legion, or more formally the 2d Partisan Corps, and led by Lieut. Col.
Henry Lee (1756-1818), is one of the most well known units in the Continental army’s
history. Yet most of what we know about the Legion and its members usually originates with
Lee’s own Memoirs (in its various editions.) And though we are most fortunate to be able to
avail ourselves of that indispensable work, we cannot help coming away from it feeling that
with regard to the Legion itself, there is still much that is left vague and incomplete; and as
much or more we would like to know about both the corps and its individual members in
order to attain a more fully rounded out picture.
General Washington’s initial reason for forming Legions or Partisan Corps,1 that
is, special elite units which incorporated both cavalry and infantry formations, was for the
purpose of carrying out reconnaissance and raids against the enemy.2 At the same time, they
were seen as encouraging initiative and acts of boldness which in turn bolstered the army
morale; while fostering an offensive spirit in a conflict where pitched major engagements
were normally avoided and where, due to both logistical constraints and lack of training, it
was ordinarily ill advised for large bodes of American forces to be on the attack.
Henry Lee’s preliminary unit of light dragoons, and precursor to the Legion, was
formed at Williamsburg, Virginia on June 8, 1776 as the 5th Troop of the Virginia state light
cavalry battalion commanded by Col. Theodorick Bland (and who also happened to be a
kinsman of Lee’s.) Lee himself was commissioned the troop’s Captain on June 18th. After
1 Lee’s Legion, technically speaking and for most of the time it was engaged, was a Partisan Corps rather than a
Legion as originally intended; a Legion having 60 men per troop (of either cavalry or infantry); while a Partisan
Corps had only 50. It was thus easier for Partisan Corps to supply itself, travel greater distances, and operate more
freely than a formal Legion. Revolutionary War legion formations, whether American, British, or French, first
entered the war by way of John Graves Simcoe’s elite Queen’s Rangers, and who, it could be said, were the
inspiration and preliminary exemplars of all the (Rev War) legions that came after them.
2 Ancient Roman legions, while principally comprised of infantry, did have a cavalry contingent; this in addition to
being highly professional, organized, and versatile corps compared to ordinary Roman Auxiliaries.
spending time in Virginia enlisting, equipping, and training, in December of that same year,
Bland’s five troops were sent north to reinforce Washington’s army. They arrived in mid-
January, and later, on March 31st 1777, the regiment was formally incorporated into the
Continental Army as the 1st Continental Light Dragoons.3
Almost from the beginning, Lee’s 5th troop found itself operating freely of Bland’s
parent regiment, and was attached to different generals, such as Lincoln and Stirling; usually
situated in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, to assist in scouting, espionage, foraging,
suppressing loyalists, rustling cattle and sheep, skirmishing, and surprising small British
detachments. In the course of these operations of 1777, Lee’s men alone captured a total of
about 125 British and Hessian soldiers. Though present at the battle of Brandywine, they
were, as best we can tell, not actually engaged there; while at Germantown they served as
Gen. Washington’s bodyguard. So impressed was Washington himself by their energy, zeal,
and diverse accomplishments in small operations, by October he viewed and treated them as
an independent unit which took their orders exclusively from him.
The troop went on to garner further notoriety when on 20 January 1778 they
thwarted a surprise attack by numerically superior British forces at the Spread Eagle Tavern,
in Philadelphia.4 Although both Alexander Garden and Lee biographer Cecil B. Hartley
speak of this attempted ambush as taking place at that tavern, some recent historians, based
on Washington and Lee’s correspondence, are inclined to believe it occurred instead at
Scott’s Farm located sixteen miles west of Philadelphia. The question has perhaps yet to be
3 For this and subsequent information on the Legion’s organizational history see Fred Anderson Berg’s Continental
Army Units, pp. 60-61, and Robert K. Wright’s The Continental Army, pp. 161-162, 348-349.
4 Cecil B. Hartley: “As Captain Lee was particularly active, a plan was formed, late in January , to surprise
and capture him in his quarters. An extensive circuit was made by a large body of cavalry, who seized four of his
patrols without communicating an alarm. About break of day the British horse appeared ; upon which Captain Lee
placed his troopers that were in the house, at the doors and windows, who behaved so gallantly as to repulse the
assailants without losing a horse or man. Only Lieutenant [William] Lindsay and one private were wounded. The
whole number in the house did not exceed ten. [Hartley’s note –‘Major [John] Jameson was accidentally present,
and engaged in this skirmish.’] That of the assailants was said to amount to two hundred. They lost a sergeant and
three men, with several horses, killed; and an officer and three men wounded.
“The following is Captain Lee’s report of this affair to General Washington: ‘I am to inform your Excellency of an
action, which happened this morning, between a party of the enemy’s dragoons and my troop of horse. They were
near two hundred in number, and by a very circuitous route endeavored to surprise me in quarters. About daybreak
they appeared. We were immediately alarmed, and manned the doors and windows. The contest was very warm ; the
British dragoons trusting to their vast superiority in number, attempted to force their way into the house. In this they
were baffled by the bravery of. my men. After having left two killed and four wounded, they desisted and sheered
off. We are trying to intercept them. Colonel Stevens has pushed a party of infantry to reach their rear. So well
directed was the opposition, that we drove them from the stables and saved every horse. We have got the arms, some
cloaks, &c. of their wounded. The only damage I at present know of, is a slight wound received by Lieutenant
Lindsay. I am apprehensive about the patrols. The enterprise was certainly daring, though the issue of it very
ignominious. I had not a soldier for each window.’-- January 20th.
“Again: ‘We have at length ascertained the real loss of this day. Four privates, belonging to the patrol at the square,
were taken. I am told they made a brave resistance. The quartermaster-sergeant, who imprudently ran from our
quarters prior to the commencement of the skirmish, was also taken. The loss sustained stands thus: one sergeant
and four privates taken; one lieutenant and two privates wounded. By what I can learn from the people of Derby, the
enemy’s loss is as follows: three privates dead; one commissioned officer, one sergeant, and three privates
“The following letter of General Washington to Captain Lee attests his sense of the merit of his young protégé: ‘ My
Dear Lee, Although I have given you my thanks in the general orders of this day, for the late instance of your gallant
behavior, I cannot resist the inclination I feel to repeat them again in this manner. I needed no fresh proofs of your
merit, to bear you in remembrance. I waited only for the proper time and season to show it; those, I hope, are not far
off. I shall also think of and will reward the merit of Lindsay, when an opening presents, as far as I can consistently;
and I shall not forget the corporal, whom you have recommended to my notice. Offer my sincere thanks to the whole
of your gallant party, and assure them, that no one felt pleasure more sensibly, or rejoiced more sincerely for your
and their escape, than your affectionate, &c.” -- Hartley, Life of Maj. Gen. Henry Lee, pp. 32-34. And see Capt.
Henry Lee, Jr. to Gen. Washington, in two dispatches of 20 Jan. 1778 (292, 293). The Papers of George Washington
Digital Edition, ed. Theodore J. Crackel. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, Rotunda, 2008, and taken
originally from Revolutionary War Series (16 June 1775–14 January 1779), Volume 13 (26 December 1777–28
February 1778); and also John Laurens to Henry Laurens, 23 Jan. 1778, The Army Correspondence of Col. John
Laurens in the Years 1777-78, with a Memoir by William Gilmore Simms (1867), pp. 110-112, and Marshall, Life of
Washington, Vol. III, p. 377.
completely resolved, but one explanation, and that is consistent with accounts of the action,
is that the fight itself, involving a very small number of Lee’s men, transpired at the tavern
while the main body of the 5th troop was stationed at Scott’s farm two miles distant.
On 7 April 1778, Lee’s contingent was officially disjoined from the 1st
Continental Light Dragoons; and Lee was promoted to Major-commandant and authorized
by Congress, at General Washington’s request, to augment his unit from one to two troops
with a mind to forming what was subsequently denominated “Maj. Henry Lee’s independent
light dragoon corps.”5 The first troop was command by Capt. William Lindsay; the second
by Capt. Henry Peyton; with a focal recruiting post being set up in Charles County,
Maryland. On 28 May, their number was further increased to three troops, the third of these
placed under Capt. Robert Forsyth, and a quartermaster added; though one troop acted as a
dismounted formation. The later inclusion of foot soldiers with the cavalry, and advocated by
Lee himself, was seen as measure necessary to insure the flexibility and survivability of the
unit. Much of 1778 and early 1779 was spent recruiting, training, and arming the corps.
However, they continued scouting, foraging, putting fear into tories, and occasionally
skirmishing including one retaliatory foray on Sept. 30th, 1778 -- two days after the infamous
Baylor massacre at Tappan, N.J. -- when, accompanying some infantry from the 9th
Pennsylvania Regt. under Col. Richard Butler, they put to flight a contingent of German
riflemen, led by a hessian Capt. Von Donop, and in which they slew 10 and took another 20
At Lee’s and subsequently Washington’s request, Congress, on 13 July 1779,
assigned Captain Allan McLane’s Delaware infantry company as a fourth troop or foot
company. McClane joined up with them by mid June; so that by the end of August “Lee’s
cavalry” mustered a total of 200 men.7
Both Lee and McLane played vital roles in the preparation of Gen. Anthony
Wayne’s victorious assault on Stony Point, 15-16 July 1779; with their unit itself acting as a
reserve force in that enterprise. For their important part in this enterprise neither Lee or
McLane received much credit. Notwithstanding, they not long after secured fame and laurels,
including an acknowledgment of thanks and a gold medal for Lee from Congress (28 Sept.
5 Washington's letter to the President of Congress soliciting Lee’s promotion to Major: “Captain Lee of the light
dragoons, and the officers under his command, having uniformly distinguished themselves by a conduct of
exemplary zeal, prudence, and bravery, I took occasion, on a late signal instance of it, to express the high sense I
entertained of their merit, and to assure him, that it should not fail of being properly noticed. I was induced to give
this assurance from a conviction, that it is the wish of Congress to give every encouragement to merit, and that they
would cheerfully embrace so favorable an opportunity of manifesting this disposition. I had it in contemplation at
the time, in case no other method more eligible could be adopted, to make him an offer of a place in my family. I
have consulted the committee of Congress upon the subject, and we were mutually of opinion, that giving Captain
Lee the command of two troops of horse on the proposed establishment, with the rank of major, to act as an
independent partisan corps, would be a mode of rewarding him very advantageous to the service. Captain Lee's
genius particularly adapts him to a command of this nature; and it will be the most agreeable to him of any station in
which he could be placed.
“I beg leave to recommend this measure to Congress, and shall be obliged by their decision as speedily as may be
convenient. The campaign is fast approaching, and there will probably be very little time to raise and prepare the
corps for it. It is a part of the plan to give Mr. Lindsay the command of the second troop, and to make Mr. Peyton
captain-lieutenant of the first.” Dated 3 April 1778, Valley Forge.
6 See Brig. Gen. Charles Scott to Gen. Washington, 30 Sept. and 2 Oct. 1778. The Papers of George Washington
Digital Edition, ed. Theodore J. Crackel. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, Rotunda, 2008, and taken
originally from Revolutionary War Series (16 June 1775–14 January 1779), Volume 17 (15 September–31 October
7 In his Light-Horse Harry; A Biography of Washington's great Cavalryman, General Henry Lee (pp. 59, 65, 68,
71), Noel B. Gerson asserts that 40 Oneida braves, and who it is otherwise known and established served as partisan
auxiliaries for McClane when the latter acted on diverse missions in and between Valley Forge and Philadelphia in
1777, became the Legion’s 3rd troop up until and including Paulus Hook. I, however, have as yet no corroboration of
this from elsewhere.
1779), for the their hatching and spearheading a daring and mostly successful night raid on
the British outpost of Paulus (also “Powles”) Hook, New Jersey on 19 August 1779.8
In addition to routine duties of gathering supplies; which on a few occasions
incurred the rancor of friendly civilians and the intervention of Washington to help settle
disputes relating to impressments, in September the Legion was sent by the Commander in
Chief to the coastal area of Monmouth County, N.J. to secretly keep watch out for the
anticipated return of D’Estaing’s fleet; while under the guise of feeding and refurbishing the
unit. D’Estaing, however, ended up in Georgia; so that it is possible that Washington, by
placing the Lee’s cavalry out as watchers for the French fleet, was attempting to mislead
In mid-January 1780, two attacks were carried out against Sandy Hook, New
Jersey. In the first of these on Jan. 12th, Captain Michael Rudolph with a party of the Lee’s
men landed at “The Hook,” and seized seven loyalist and some $45,000 in counterfeit
Continental currency. The second raid occurred on the 15th; when Captain Henry Peyton and
40 others burned two ice bound schooners and a sloop while capturing some prisoners. Lee
reported Peyton’s excursion to Washington as follows:
“The noise of the [Peyton’s] men marching occasioned by the snow, alarmed the
garrison: of course the attempt on the light house [at Sandy Hook] was omitted agreeable to
orders. The shipping were assaulted, and three burnt, vizt. one tender one schooner and one
sloop. The prisoners taken amounted to twelve; these with the British officer captured some
time since will be sent to Philada. The counterfeit money [captured by the Legion on the 12th]
I have sent to the loan office to be burnt. Unfortunately the owner of it, was mortally
wounded and left behind, so that no discovery can be made.”9
On 14 February 1780, Lee was, as was also at that time Col. Charles Armand,
formally granted authorization10 to form a Legionary Corps; with, as additionally proposed
by Maj. Gen. Von Steuben, an increase of 70 men. Many of the best soldiers from other units
either volunteered or were specially invited to join its ranks; with resultant Legion members
hailing from Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and
Connecticut. So that by April, the newly created Legion numbered 300 with three troops of
cavalry and three of infantry.
In March 30th , they were directed to be prepared to march south in support of then
besieged Charleston. By mid-May, they were duly supplied and accoutered for that purpose
and just en route, when on the 20th of the same month Washington rescinded the command
and summoned them back to the main army.
8 Although Capt. Allan McLane (1746-1829) played decisive roles in both Stony Point, N.Y., and Paulus Hook
(with the former being the inspiration for the latter undertaking), he was unjustly neglected when the honors for both
these victories were handed out, and this no doubt contributed to his falling out with Lee (whom he did not
subsequently get along well with), and his leaving the corps to be re-assigned to a separate duty in Jan. 1781. His
men notwithstanding remained with the Legion and served in the south. For an account of McLane’s war services
and related amazing adventures, see Garden, vol. 2, pp. 76-83, and American Heritage Magazine, Oct. 1956, vol. 7,
Issue 6; available at: http://www.americanheritage.com/content/allan-mclane-unknown-hero-revolution
9 See Washington to Lee, Jan. 21, 1780; with the quoted text inserted with Washington’s letter; and also, The
Virginia Gazette, Feb. 12, 1780, and This Old Monmouth of Ours by William S. Hornor, Moreau Bros. Freehold,
N.J., 1932, pp. 68-69.
10 “Resolved, That recruiting money be furnished to major Lee, to enable him to inlist [sic] seventy privates, to serve
as dismounted dragoons in addition to those now in the corps; the whole to be formed into three troops.” Resolves of
the Continental Congress. Pulaski’s Legion had already been authorized on 28 March 1778 as a way to compensate
Pulaski who had earlier been promised a Continental cavalry brigade, but which Congress decided it could not for
financial and other reasons form. For this reason Pulaski’s Legion held a special status all its own; separate from the
other American Legions. Armand’s, by the way, became the 1st American Legion while Lee’s became this 2nd; with
the title of Legion later being formally changed for both to “Partisan Corps” in Jan. 1781 to reflect a slight decrease
in the size and composition of the units. The term “Legion,” however, continued to be used as an informal
The unit subsequently distinguished itself, fighting alongside Col. Matthias Ogden’s
1st New Jersey Regiment, at the battle of Springfield, N.J. June 23, 1780; and which was the
first engagement in which Lee’s corps found itself acting under the leadership of Maj. Gen.
Just three days before that clash, Lee wrote a letter (dated “Advance post.”), worth
quoting at length here, to President (i.e., Governor) Joseph Reed of Pennsylvania; which
provides a rare and unusually close-up look at Colonel Lee’s ideas concerning field tactics
“Since my junction, which was the second day after we passed Philade[lphia], every
measure with us seemed to be in consequence of something from them. The arrival of S[i]r
Henry from Charlestown has urged us to motion. The main body of the army under his
Excellency decamped last night, pointing its march toward the N. River. A secondary body
remains in this country. Gen. Greene commands. My corps continue here, & with a
detachment of Infantry form the advance. On my reaching the army, I was immediately
ordered to the front, & honored with the command on the lines. In consequence of which line
of life, I know the springs of action in both armys [sic]. Be assured that the enemy conduct
themselves with much wisdom. Not only their movements are material & military, but their
positions are circumspect, & their discipline rigid. A very different chief Mr. Clinton from Sr
Will. Howe. They have made two fruitless excursions on my post; we have made prisoners
one L[ieu]t. & his party -- every day we kill, & are killed.
“I have proposed this day to make an attempt on Mr. Kinsihausen [Knyphausen]
with three hund[re]d men. My object is to bring off a picquet, & oblige Mr. Kinsihausen
either to extend his picquets or to contract his lines. His caution has worked so far on him, as
to induce him to proximate his picquets to his camp, least the former might be taken off. I am
now speaking of his right flank -- his left is secured by the Elizabeth town creek; it is on his
left I mean to strike seriously, & to storm his right. The alarm on his right I expect will shew
him the impropriety of having his piquets so near his lines, as it is certain that in such a
position his army is liable to surprize. He will therefore extend his picquets on his right; if he
does, the prosecution of my plan orders them to be cut off at some opportune moment. This
being done, he will necessarily contract his lines, or reinforce his army.
“Either of these objects will be very important to us; the first liberates E. town, the
second prevents any important movement in another quarter.
“How this reasoning will relish I don’t know; I fear the general will not consent
because it might produce the loss of 20 or 30 lives in the operation of the plan.
“But done with these matters; I cannot but express my happiness in the movement
taking place toward the N. river.
“The enemy are about one third superior to us in number; wisdom on our side will
effectually prevent any injury to us; the succour we expect from our Countrymen will give us
in time the ability of offence. In the interim, while the main body prepares a position capable
of relieving W. point if besieged, or of striking on the enemy’s right should they advance on
Gen’l Greene, we shall be safe. The moment we lay und[e]r cover of the mountains in one
body, the enemy will possibly hurt us by their maneuvers. This let[te]r is all in hurry...”11
Another occurrence deserving mention involving the unit, though of a quite
different character than Springfield, was a largely auspicious cattle raid in the summer of
1780, under Gen. Anthony Wayne; that took place just below Fort Lee, New Jersey. This
event was afterward celebrated in a poem-parody by Maj. John André entitled “The Cow
In enumerating these various actions and escapades involving Lee’s 5th troop and
the Legion prior to 1781, it needs at this juncture to be emphasized that what we have related
11 The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol 6, Oct. 1898, pp. 153–58.
12 See Benson J. Lossing’s Field Book of the Revolution, vol. 2, pp. 622n, 684-686.
thus far are merely highlights, and that a full listing of known engagements (i.e., not to
mention those for which there is no apparent record) is far too lengthy to include in a general
introduction of this kind.
Despite the numerous tactical triumphs, questions continued to be raised in
Congress regarding the utility of Legionary and Partisan corps to the army. The establishing
of Legions as effectually federal military entities doubtless prompted reservations with some
Congressmen with state’s rights leanings. Washington in response to the nay-sayers, in a
letter of 11 October 1780 addressed to the President, stated: “In general I dislike independent
corps, I think a partisan corps with an army useful in many respects. Its name and destination
stimulate to enterprise; and the two officers I have mentioned have the best claims to public
attention. Colonel [Charles] Armand is an officer of great merit, which, added to his being a
foreigner, to his rank in life, and to the sacrifices of property he has made, renders it a point
of delicacy as well as justice to continue to him the means of serving honorably. Major Lee
has rendered such distinguished services, possesses so many talents for commanding a corps
of this nature, and deserves so much credit for the perfection in which he has kept his corps,
as well as for the handsome exploits he has performed, that it would be a loss to the service,
and a discouragement to merit, to reduce him, and I do not see how he can be introduced into
one of the regiments in a manner satisfactory to himself, and which will enable him to be
equally useful, without giving too much disgust to the whole line of cavalry.”
Ensuing upon this, Congress, on 21 Oct., reiterated the earlier resolve of April and
officially confirmed its authorization of both Lee’s and Armand’s legions.13
While then the Legion was a Congressionally sponsored, as opposed to a state
based regiment, the state of Maryland, for one, made provision for the Legion and some
other independent Continental units, resolving on 11 April 1780: “That the officers and
soldiers raised in this state, and now in colonels Hazen’s [2nd Canadian Regt.], Spencer’s,
Gist’s and major Lee’s corps, be entitled to receive the same privileges, bounties, and
cloathing, that the officers in the line have or are entitled to receive under the resolution of
the 4th of December, 1778, and the act of assembly, entitled, An act relating to the officers
and soldiers of this state, in the American army, and other purposes therein mentioned,
passed at a session of assembly, begun and held at the city of Annapolis, on Thursday the
22d day of July, in the year 1779.”
By 1 November 178014 Lee’s force was detached from the Main Army and once
more sent to reinforce the Southern Army badly mauled at the battle of Camden, 16 August
1780. On 1 January 1781, the Legion was re-designated the 2d Partisan Corps (in place of
“Legion”), and when it joined General Greene by early January numbered some 100 cavalry
and 180 foot which were organized into three troops of horse under Captains Joseph
Eggleston, Ferdinand O’Neal, and James Armstrong, and 3 companies of infantry led by
Captains Patrick Carnes, Michael Rudulph and George Handy. As the exploits and
movements of the Legion in the South are extensively recorded elsewhere, an overview and
recapitulation of such is unnecessary here.15
Among it marks of distinction, the “Legion” was one of the best disciplined,
clothed and equipped units in the Continental Army; this due in no small part to Lee’s
dogged and persistent determination to make it so. His mounted legionnaires wore green
13 “Resolved, That there be 2 partizan corps, consisting of 3 troops of mounted and 3 of dismounted dragoons, of 50
each, one of which corps to be commanded by col. Armand, and the other by major Lee, and officered by
appointment of the commander in chief, with the approbation of Congress: and that the commander in chief be
authorized to direct a mode for completing, recruiting and supplying the said corps.” Resolves of the Continental
Congress, 21 Oct. 1780.
14 Lee himself was promoted by Congress to Lieutenant Colonel on 6 November 1780.
15 For more on the Legion while in the south, see my Calendar and Record of the Revolutionary War in the South: 1780-1781,
jackets because on several occasions they were mistaken for men of both Simcoe’s Queen’s
Rangers16 and Tarleton’s British Legion (and or else members of those two units were
mistook for Lee’s men); while Lee himself, in his Memoirs, speaks of his cavalry wearing
“green coatees and leather breeches.” Yet this is about as much incontrovertible information
as we have to go on with respect to apparel and apparently applies only to the cavalry.17
Otherwise supply records intimate that at least some of the unit were attired in blue coats
with red trim and white linen. For headgear, leather caps were most frequently used by
Continental cavalrymen; and yet some are known to have worn visored black or brown
leather helmets; with felt hats making an occasional appearance.18
While in the south, the Legion occasionally took in recruits from local
Carolinians; some of whom became notable in its service. In May of 1781, about 25 North
Carolina Continentals under Maj. Pinkertham Eaton were included in the ranks of the Legion
Infantry; apparently to offer them temporary training; as well as to strengthen the Legion’s
By early February 1782, Lee, in part because he felt he was not receiving
sufficient support and cooperation from fellow southern army officers to continue leading
effectively, removed himself (Eggleston accompanying him) from command and returned
north. Greene then in June divided the Legion by combining its cavalry with detachments
from the 3rd and 4th Continental Light Dragoons, under Col. George Baylor;19 while
assigning the infantry of the Legion to Lieut. Col. John Laurens’ Light Infantry battalion: all
as part of a plan to form a brigade under Brig. Gen. Mordecai Gist. The reaction on the part
of remaining Legion officers was one of dismay and indignation, and all resigned in protest;
this unanimity being a testimony to the Legion’s continued pride and esprit d’ corps, even
16 Lee, Memoirs, pp. 301n-302n.
17 Nevertheless, there is a most intriguing cavalry figure -- dark green coated with white collar and facings; wearing a
smaller version of the British Legion style helmet, and with tan vest and breeches -- in Alonzo Chappel’s (1828-
1887) painting “Washington’s Farewell to His Officers, 1783” (c. 1857) that may very well be the uniform in
question. While it is true Chappel did do a painting (now lost but that survives as an engraving) specifically of the
Legion cavalry at Guilford Court House, it is uncertain whether it was done before or after “Washington’s Farewell.”
In the “Legion at Guilford,” the troopers wear a metal helmet very similar to the one worn by Thomas Young
Seymour of the Connecticut Light Dragoons in the portrait by John Trumbull (1756-1843), but with shell covered in
black rather than brass or gold; surmounted by a metal crest on which hanging horse hair is attached; with, as well, as
metal visor broader than Seymour’s. The green jackets are cut at the waists, and have relatively high collars and long
cuffs, and which latter, as depicted in some colorings of the engraving, are buff-yellow. It is not impossible that both
the dragoons shown in “Washington’s Farewell” and or “Guilford” are accurate representations of how the unit
appeared at different times. It was trying to keep any regiment in the Continental army properly outfitted in the field.
And with Lee’s Legion being one of the optimally clothed compared to other American units, they doubtless still had
to make shift attiring themselves as best they could and as changing circumstances allowed; so that the result was
still, at least in many instances in the course of several campaigns, something of an amalgam. The Legion infantry
itself has been spoken of as being at one time in purple trousers and purple jackets when in the north (Don Troiani’s
Soldier’s of the American Revolution, by Troiani and Kochan, pp. 156-160), and then there are records of scarlet and
blue cloth being issued to them while in the south (Uniforms of the Continental Army by Philip Katcher, pp. 39-40) --
as well as the painting of Laurence Manning of the infantry; where he wears a conventional blue army coat with red
collars and facing, and silver epaulette.
Also the Legion, like other British and American legions, was inspired and styled itself in precedent on Simcoe’s
Queen’s Rangers, who were very careful and strict about their uniforms, yet loved a little flourish and extra
adornment for color; for example, in the crescent moon worn on their headgear, and, on one occasion, when they put
on white and black feathers in mourning for André (Simcoe, p. 152; Simcoe also, incidentally, commends Lee’s
Legion for its discipline, p. 136.) Since lack of regular equipment prevented strict uniformity of the Legion’s
clothing, a concomitant harmony of élan, cut, and swagger (such as, say, Garden implies) not only permitted but
encouraged divers clothing and gear to be used in a creative and colorful manner; providing at least they had good to
better aesthetic taste; which it is probably safe to conclude the majority of legion officers and men had. That Lee
prided himself on the unit's look and appearance, including their gentlemanly deportment (as, for instance, in the
quasi-for its time knightly treatment of Brown and the King's Rangers at and after the fall of Augusta) added to
Garden’s dashing picture of the legion, would seem to strongly support such a surmise.
18 See Lee, Memoirs of the War in the Southern Department of the United States (1869 ed.) p. 302n., Phillip
Katcher’s Uniforms of the Continental Army, pp. 36, 39-40.
19 With respect to the 3d and 4th Continental Light Dragoons see Berg, p. 30-31. While for a no little helpful account
and explanation of what happened to the Legion after Lee left in February, see William Johnson’s Life and
Correspondence of Nathanael Greene, vol. 2, ch. 17, pp. 325-331.
with Lee absent. Greene, however, was able to somewhat appease and console them, and
those who would not stay were granted furlough to return north.20 The unit, which continued
to exist on paper and payroll returns, finally and formally disbanded at Winchester, Virginia
on 15 November 1783.
Portrait of Lieutenant Laurence Manning, of the Legion Infantry;
by John Trumbull (1756-1843), Yale University Art Gallery.
But for Alexander Garden (1757-1829), son of noted Scotch-American physician,
botanist -- and Loyalist -- of the same name (1730-1792), our knowledge and idea of the
officers and men under Lee’s command would be considerably more shadowy and sketchy
than it is. Born in Charleston, S.C., Garden for most of the war was in Scotland pursuing
studies at the University of Glasgow. Yet in July 1780 he returned to British held Charleston,
and sometime, but apparently not earlier than after the battle of Eutaw Springs in 8
September 1781, he somehow managed to join up with and enlist in Greene’s army; being
first made a Cornet in Lee’s Legion; rising to Lieutenant by February 1782; and for a period
(presumably due to his cultured and well educated background) acted as aide-de-camp to
General Greene. After the war, his father’s estate, that would otherwise have been
confiscated, was awarded to him by the state of South Carolina. He later published two
separate volumes of Revolutionary War Anecdotes, viz.:
* Anecdotes of the Revolutionary War in America: With Sketches of Character of
Persons the Most Distinguished, in the Southern States, for Civil and Military Services A.E.
Miller, Charleston, 1822.
* Anecdotes of the American Revolution: Illustrative of the Talents and Virtues of
the Heroes of the Revolution, Who Acted the Most Conspicuous Parts Therein.
-- Second Series. A.E. Miller, Charleston, 1828.
These “anecdotes,” although largely second or third hand in origin, were often
enough taken from original participants themselves whom he knew personally; not least of
which, for our purposes, his old comrades and fellow officers in Lee’s Legion.
20 Lee, Memoirs, pp. 550-553.
Although sometimes unabashedly patriotic even to the point at times of being
suspect in their accuracy, and despite how other portions of his text merely re-relate David
Ramsay, William Moultrie, or other early Revolutionary War historian (including Garden’s
former commander, Henry Lee), Garden’s accounts often contain much rare, candid, and
unusual information not found elsewhere and to that extent are much more original and
reliable than perhaps initially and on their face we might otherwise take them to be.
What follows here then are Garden’s reminiscences of some of the officers, noncommissioned
officers and enlisted men of Lee’s corps. These profiles and vignettes make
up only a portion, though a substantial portion, of the Anecdotes as a whole; and for that
reason might be easily overlooked or bypassed by those not specifically researching Lee’s
Legion. What we get is a very lively more detailed picture of the men; certainly as good or
better as any we find elsewhere in the literature of that very early time of chronicling the
Revolution; and which succeeds well both at imparting the spirit of loyalty and comradery
that characterized the corps; providing records of their individual bravery and virtues; as well
as filling in important, and occasionally amusing, dramatic, or touching, details we simply
have no other means of knowing about. At the same time, this gathering of information
affords the opportunity to fill some of the gaps in the record further by way of footnote and
annotation; which we have striven to do here. While numerous facts are still unknown and
primary materials often scarce if not altogether non-existent, hopefully we, with Garden’s
most unique and gifted assistance, will have at least managed to get significantly closer to
our object of better comprehending and appreciating quite what the Legion was, and who the
men were that filled its ranks and or led therein.
Excerpts from Anecdotes of the Revolutionary War in America: With Sketches of Character
of Persons the Most Distinguished, in the Southern States, for Civil and Military Services
A.E. Miller, Charleston, 1822. By Alexander Garden, of Lee’s Partisan Legion; Aid-De-
Camp to Major General Greene; And Honorary Member of the Historical Society of New-
York. [Beginning at p. 123.]
Character and Conduct of Officers of the Legion
I feel too proud of the partial friendship experienced from my brother Officers of
the Legion, not to be ambitious, in some degree, to acquit myself of my debt of gratitude, by
recording the successes resulting from their exemplary good conduct, and the achievements
that gave many of them, peculiar claims to celebrity. Where merited praise is not bestowed, I
can truly aver, that it will not proceed from intentional neglect. The title of most of them to
distinction, has been repeatedly acknowledged by their general, and confirmed by the
flattering concurrence of their confederates in arms. I can only speak particularly of those
with whom I was most familiar, and best acquainted. Major John Rudolph [Rudulph], the
Captains [Henry] Archer and Hurd, the facetious Captain Carns [Patrick Carnes], bold in
action, in quarters the delight of his associates; George Carrington, [William] Winston,
[Jonathan] Snowden, [James] Lovell, [Robert] Power, [William Butler] Harrison, Lumford
[Swanson Lunsford], and [John] Jordan, performed every duty with alacrity, and with the
highest advantage to the service.
Captain Joseph Eggleston21
This meritorious Officer was endowed with superior powers of mind, but
decidedly better qualified to gain celebrity in the cabinet, than in the field. He had the most
perfect knowledge of duty, and was ever prompt in its performance; but the spirit of
enterprise particularly requisite in a Partisan, was foreign to his nature. There occurred,
however, one recontre [sic] with the enemy, in which he acquired distinction, both for [p.
123] talent and intrepidity. On the retreat of the British army from Ninety-Six, Lee, knowing
that the rich settlement South of Fridig’s [also “Friday’s”] ferry, could alone afford the
forage which they would require, determined to avail himself of the probable chance of
striking a blow, which should paralyze every future movement, Eggleston was detached for
the purpose, to the expected scene of action, and choosing an advantageous position,
anxiously awaited their approach. A party of sixty British dragoons, and some foraging
wagons speedily appeared, evidently intending to reach the very farm he occupied. The
legionary cavalry rushed forward with irresistible impetuosity, the enemy were at once put to
rout, the wagons taken, and forty-five dragoons brought off prisoners, without the loss of a
It is painful to state, though the imputations of blame rest not on him, that the
opportunity of totally destroying the British cavalry at Eutaw was lost, by his having, from
his ardour to perform his duty, obeyed an unauthorized order to engage. Foiled, and
compelled to retire, when summoned to advance by Lee, he was too far distant to support
Armstrong, who was ready to engage, but unequal with a single troop to meet the superior
force of [John] Coffin.23 On the day following the battle, however, he rendered very essential
service, charging the retiring enemy, and taking from them several wagons containing stores
and baggage. On this occasion, his horse was killed under him – he himself escaping without
injury, though five balls pierced his clothes and equipments.
At the conclusion of the war, turning his attention to literary pursuits, he was
returned a Member of Congress, in which respectable body he obtained applause and
distinction. [p. 124]
Of warm and impatient temper, while yet in the flower of his age, tormented by
the irritation of a disordered leg, and insisting on amputation, mortification ensued, which
caused his immediate and untimely dissolution.
21 Eggleston (1754-1811), a William and Mary graduate and originally part of Lee’s first troop of Virginia State
Cavalry, served with distinction in the Legion throughout the war and was afterward, among other several public
offices he held, a U.S. Representative from the state of Virginia from 1798 to 1801. His gravesite is located in the
Old Grubhill Church Cemetery, near Amelia Court House in Amelia County, Virginia.
22 3 July 1781, Lee, Memoirs, p. 381.
23 Regarding both Eutaw Springs, 8 September 1781, and the lost opportunity to defeat Coffin and turn the British
left flank, see Lee, Memoirs, pp. 463-475, Gibbes’ Documentary History Vol. 3 p. 151, and Papers of Nathaniel
Greene, Vol. IX (Dennis Conrad, editor) pp. 335n-336n.
Captain James Armstrong24
There was no Officer in the service of the United States, whose feats of daring,
had made a more salutary impression on the minds of the enemy, than those of Armstrong of
the Legion. The British did justice to his merits; they admired his valor; they gratefully
acknowledged his humanity; and when he, by an accident, became their prisoner, behaved
towards him with marked and flattering attention. Had they displayed the same generous
conduct towards others, which they exercised towards him, the asperities of the war would
have been softened, and nothing heard of those acts of intemperate violence, which debased
their characters as men.
The details of his achievements are to be met with in every history of the war; it
would be superfluous again to repeat them. But, one instance of his attention to a brave and
unfortunate Soldier, has not, in my judgment been sufficiently dwelt upon. Lieutenant
Colonel Lee was certainly a man of strong prejudices; but, where admiration was excited
towards a gallant enemy, his generosity was unbounded. Fascinated by the consummate skill
and bravery of Colonel Browne [loyalist, Thomas Brown], in the defense of his post at
Augusta, his resolution was immediately fixed, to save him from the fury of an exasperated
population, and the better to effect it, [p. 125] put him under the safeguard of Armstrong, to
conduct him to Savannah. The precaution was the more necessary, as the inveteracy of party,
in the neighbourhood of Augusta, had given birth to a war of extermination, and he saw that
without such interposition a gallant Soldier, who had committed himself to his enemy, on
their plighted faith, would otherwise have been sacrificed. Colonel [James] Grierson of the
British militia, had already fallen by an unknown hand; and to have risked a repetition of the
crime, would have subjected the victorious commanders to merited censure and reproach.25
I have often heard the gallant Armstrong declare, that he never had, in his own
opinion, encountered equal peril with that which he experienced on this trying occasion. At
every turn preparation was made for death – in every individual who approached, was seen
the eager wish to destroy. Resentment was excited to the highest pitch, and called aloud to be
appeased by blood. Yet, by dint of good management, by the gentleness of persuasion – by
forcibly portraying the duty of humanity to a captured and unresisting foe, and occasionally
well applied threats, he saved the contemplated victim, and delivered him in safety to his
friends in Savannah.
24 Armstrong (1753-1800), according to one credible genealogist’s report was born in Londonderry, Ireland. Some
time shortly after the Revolutionary War broke out, we find him serving as an officer in the Pennsylvania line;
where he was made lieutenant in the 3d Pennsylvania Regiment in April 1777. On 16 July 1778, at Peekskill, N.Y.,
he was “notwithstanding his good character as an officer and soldier," court-martialed and reprimanded by General
Washington, (see Archives of Pennsylvania, 2d series, Vol. 11, p. 294.) Then in September 1778, his, with other
officers of the 3d Regiment, was one of forty-one signatures affixed to a petition submitted to Washington protesting
recently adopted promotion procedures. By January 1779, we find him a Lieutenant in Lee’s corps; and some time,
not clear, in 1780 was made a Captain heading one of Lee’s troops of cavalry; (Heitman gives 1 January 1779 as the
date of his being granted a captaincy, but this is apparently in error); and was commended for his part in the raid on
Paulus Hook, 19 August 1779. Armstrong was later taken captive near Dorchester, S.C. in December 1781 (see Lee,
Memoirs, p. 538), and was held a prisoner to the war’s termination. An account of Armstrong’s own last
Revolutionary War and capture encounter just outside Dorchester, S.C. is found in “The Narrative of Col. Stephen
Jarvis.” The Journal of American History, vol.1, Issues 3-4, 1907. Following the conflict, he settled in Richmond
County, Georgia; and in 1786 commanded a company of Dragoons guarding the border with Florida. One unofficial
source (and which we have yet to confirm) states Armstrong received an electoral vote for President in 1789. He
died at the Georgia plantation of fellow officer Ferdinand O'Neal, in McIntosh County, on 28 June 1800 (Georgia
Gazette, 31 June 1800, p. 3.) For further on both Armstrong and O’Neal, see Pennsylvania Magazine of History and
Biography, Vol. XXIX, by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1905, pp. 483-484; and Caldwell
Woodruff’s, “Capt. Ferdinand O’Neal of Lee’s Legion,” The William and Mary Quarterly, 2nd Ser., Vol. 23, No. 3
(July, 1943), pp. 328-330, and the well done, though more informal, “A Biography of Ferdinand O’Neal,” by
Dorothy Tribble; that can be found at The O’Neal Genealogy Association website at http://www.onealwebsite.com
25 6 June 1781, Lee, Memoirs, pp. 367-370.
A remarkable scene is said, by Dr. [David] Ramsay, to have occurred on this
occasion, which well deserves to be recorded, as exemplifying the firmness of a female,
labouring under the deepest affliction of grief. Passing through the settlement where the most
wanton waste had recently been made by the British, both of lives and property, a Mrs.
M’Koy [McKay, mother of Rannall McKay, the young man spoken of], having obtained
permission to speak with Colonel Browne [loyalist, Thomas Brown], addressed him in words
to the following effect: -- “Colonel Browne, in the late day of your prosperity, I visited your
camp, and on my knees supplicated for the life of my son -- but you were deaf to my
entreaties! You [p. 126] hanged him, though a beardless youth, before my face. These eyes
have seen him scalped by the savages under your immediate command, and for no better
reason than that his name was M’Koy. As you are prisoner to the leaders of my country, for
the present I lay aside all thoughts of revenge: but, when you resume your sword, I will go
five hundred miles to demand satisfaction at the point of it, for the murder or my son.”26
While Armstrong remained a prisoner, he was treated, as I have stated, with
distinguished politeness. To Colonel Thompson, afterwards Count Rumford,27 I have heard
him express great obligation; and still more to Commodore Sweeny, whose attentions were
such as none but a generous enemy could have known to bestow. I have only to add, that
ever high in he esteem and affection of his associates, admired and respected in every
society, he lived beloved, and died lamented.
Captain [Ferdinand] O’Neal28
O’Neal was one of the Officers of the Legion, who rose to rank and consideration
by the force of extraordinary merit. He entered the army a private trooper in Bland’s
regiment, and was one of a gallant band, who, when Captain Henry Lee was surprised at the
Spread-Eagle Tavern, near Philadelphia, resolutely defended the position against the whole
of the British cavalry, and ultimately compelled them to retire. Lee, on this occasion,
addressing his companions, and strenuously urging them rather to die than surrender, added -
- “Henceforth, I consider the fortune of every individual present, as inseparably [p. 128]
connected with my own! If we fall, we will fall like brothers! If successful in repelling the
enemy, (and it needs but a trifling exertion of your energies to effect it) my fortune and my
interest shall be uniformly employed to increase your comforts, and secure your promotion.”
Nor did he ever swerve from his promise. Appointed, shortly after, with the rank of Major, to
the command of a corps of horse, O’Neal and [William] Winston, another of his faithful
26 For Brown’s own version and explanation of what took place with respect to the murder of Grierson and the
hanging of McKay, see White's Historical Collections of Georgia, pp. 614-620.
27 Benjamin Thompson (1753-1814) was a Massachusetts loyalist, and later Count Rumford world renown scientist,
inventor, and honored member of the Royal Society. On 24 February 1782 he was commissioned a lieutenant
colonel in the “King’s American Dragoons” (formed in New York); and is said to have served in South Carolina
with that unit later the same year.
28 O’Neal, a Virginian reportedly of French origin or ancestry, was initially a Cornet in Lee’s Light Dragoons in
April 1777. By 5 September 1779 he was Lieutenant in the Legion; and in October 1780 Captain in which rank he
served to the conflict’s completion. Immediately after the war, along with Legion comrades James Armstrong and
Michael Rudulph, he settled Georgia; O’Neal in particular in Camden County, Georgia, representing that county in
the legislature in 1786. In Mar. 1787, he married Mary Ann “Polly” Woodruff; with whom he had at least three
children. He later moved to Liberty County where he was elected representative there in 1790; and following that
had a plantation in McIntosh County (which had been formed from Liberty County.) At the time of Quasi-War with
France, he was made a candidate for Colonel in the then being raised provisional army, and in which James
Armstrong was a Major. In 1801, MacIntosh County sent him to the state assembly a Senator; which office he held
till sometime in 1803. The date of O’Neal’s death is unknown, but it has been suggested that it would have been
sometime before 1820. For more, see Woodruff’s “Capt. Ferdinand O'Neal of Lee’s Legion,” The William and Mary
Quarterly, 2nd Ser., Vol. 23, No. 3 (July, 1943), pp. 328-330; and “A Biography of Ferdinand O’Neal,” by Dorothy
Tribble at http://www.onealwebsite.com
adherents, received commissions, and to the last hour of the way, by uniform steadiness of
conduct, and exemplary intrepidity, gained increase of reputation. It was said, on this
occasion, that Tarleton, making his first essay as a military man, but for the accidental
snapping of O’Neal’s carbine, would have fallen a victim to a bold effort, which he made to
enter by a window at which he was posted, the muzzle of the piece being, at the time, within
a foot of his head. Tarleton behaved with great calmness; for looking up, he said with a
smile, “You have missed it, my lad, for this time;” and wheeling his horse, joined his
companions, who, deceived by false alarm, were retiring with precipitation.
Captain Michael Rudolph [Rudulph]29
There was not, in the Southern Army, an Officer of the same grade, whose activity
and daring spirit produced such essential advantages to the service as Michael Rudolph; yet,
in the pages of history he is scarcely named. I never knew a man, so strictly inforcing [sic]
the observance of discipline, who, at the same time, maintained so perfect an ascendancy
over the [p. 129] affections of his men. He was their idol; and such was their confidence in
his talents and intrepidity, that no enterprise, however, hazardous, could be proposed, where
he was to be the leader, but every individual in the regiment became anxious to obtain a
preference of service.
His stature was diminutive; but from the energy of his mind, and personal activity,
his powers were gigantic.
Fully to detail his services, is beyond my ability, but that he merited the grateful
applause of his country, must be allowed, when it is recollected, that he led the forlorn hope,
when the post at New York, was surprised and carried by Lee; and that the same perilous
command was assigned him at the storming of the Stockade Fort at Ninety-Six; that he bore a
pre-eminently distinguished part in conducting the sieges of the several Forts reduced in the
interior country, and particularly directed against Fort Cornwallis at Augusta; that at Guilford
[Court House] his conduct was highly applauded, and that he was conspicuous from his
exemplary ardour, leading the charge with the bayonet, which broke the British line at
Eutaw; that shortly previous to the evacuation of Charleston, he, with sixteen men, took and
burnt the Galley protecting the left of the British line at the Quarter House, bringing off
twenty-six prisoners;30 and that, finally, he dismounted and made a prisoner of one of the
boldest black dragoons employed by the enemy.
29 Michael Rudulph (often and usually given, incorrectly, as “Rudolph” though ostensibly the pronunciation is very
similar if not identical) and cousin of Major John Rudulph (also of the Legion), hailed, like John, from Cecil
County, Maryland; being born in Elkton. He was Sergeant Major of Lee’s Light Dragoons in April 1778; and by
July 1779 was made Lieutenant. He was conspicuous for his gallantry in leading the forlorn hope in the capture of
Paulus Hook in August 1779, and in consequence was in Sept. brevetted Captain by resolve of Congress. By 1
November 1779, he was a full Captain in the Legion; serving, as much as anyone else in the heat of the fighting, in
the unit to the war’s end. He at first settled in Georgia along with Ferdinand O’Neal and James Armstrong; in
Rudulph’s case in Sunbury; raising rice and cattle, and then appointed collector for the port there for 1787-89. In
June 1790, he became Capatin again in the United States army and was stationed at Augusta; and was among
Washington’s greeters when the President visited in 1791. Transferred to join Josiah Harmar’s ill equipped western
army, he returned to Elkton on 1 June 1791; arriving at Pittsburgh (then Fort Fayette) to assume dragoon command
by March, and where he was well known for both his sternness and affection as a commanding officer. In Feb. of
1793 while on Furlough in Maryland, he was made Adjutant General and Inspector of the United States Army.
Sometime in 1795, Rudulph sailed from Baltimore in a merchant ship carrying tobacco, and was subsequently (and
seemingly) lost at sea; though in the mid 19th century there was a legend or rumor afloat that he actually ended up
and France and somehow, through disguising his true identity, became Napoleon’s Marshal Ney. For more, see
“Michael Rudulph, ‘Lion of the Legion,’” by Marilou Alston Rudulph, Georgia Historical Quarterly, 45
(September 1961), pp. 201-222, and “The Legend of Michael Rudulph,” by Marilou Alston Rudulph, Georgia
Historical Quarterly, 45 (December 1961), pp. 309-328.
30 David Ramsay: “Though the battle of Eutaw may be considered as closing the national war in South-Carolina, yet
after that period several small enterprizes, greatly to the credit of individuals, were successfully executed. The
American army felt the elevation of conquerors, while the British, from the recollection of their former prowess, and
Such were the Revolutionary services of the Captain, under whose auspices I
entered the army, and whose virtues were no less estimable than his public utility.
At a later period in the war, with the Western Indians, he served with
distinguished reputation; but [p. 130] anxious to provide for an increasing family, he left the
service to engage in trade, and sailing on a voyage of speculation to the West Indies, was
heard of no more.
~ * ~
Captain [George] Handy31
Animated by principles as pure and patriotic, Captain Handy gained distinction by
his zealous performance of every duty, and the invincible coolness with which he
encountered danger. His activity contributed very essentially, to the reduction of several
Forts held by the enemy in the interior country, particularly that at Augusta, where his
vigorous charge on the British, who had, by a bold sally, actually possessed themselves of
the trenches of the besiegers, caused their expulsion, and precipitate retreat into their posts,
from where they never ventured again.32 On the retreat of [Francis] Lord Rawdon from
Ninety-Six, while Lee was endeavoring to gain his front, Handy, deviating a few paces from
his command, was seized and carried to a distance by a party of banditti, who robbed him of
his watch, money, and every article of his clothing, leaving him in a state of perfect nudity,
to find his way back to his party. The appellation which I have used is not too harsh; the
ceremony of a parole was, indeed, insisted on and given; but on application, at an after
period, to the British commander for the exchange of Handy, he candidly acknowledged, that
he was not known as a prisoner, and that his captors must have been a set of lawless
marauders, of whom the British had no knowledge. Captain Handy, again restored to the
service, by patent endurance of all the miseries and privations of the last campaign, had great
influence [p. 131] in tranquilizing the minds of men, driven almost to desperation by famine
and disease. The departure of the enemy, at length, closed the scene of the calamity.
Handy led the van of the troops taking possession of Charleston, and having the
command of the main guard, by his arrangement of patrols, and the correct conduct of his
men, preserved a tranquility that could scarcely have been expected, from Soldiers so long
deprived of every comfort, who had now a town, rich in spoil, and many of their most
implacable enemies, altogether within their power. To his credit I can assert that no
irregularity was committed – not a murmur heard.
the exactness of their discipline, though reduced in their limits, could not bear to be insulted. From among a variety
of projects which were undertaken by detached parties of Americans, in the year 1782, the following is selected as
meriting particular notice. On the nineteenth of March captain Rudolph, of Lee’s legion, and lieutenant Smith, of the
Virginia line, with twelve men, captured and burned the British galley Alligator, lying in Ashley river, which
mounted twelve guns, besides a variety of swivels, and was manned with forty-three seamen. The Americans had
the address to pass themselves for negroes who were coming to market with poultry. They were therefore permitted
to come so near the galley that they boarded her with ease, while their adversaries suspected no danger. Three or
four of the British were killed, and twenty-eight were brought off prisoners.” The History of the Revolution of South
Carolina, (1785) vol. 2, ch. 12, pp. 257-258.
31 Handy was an Ensign in the 5th Maryland regiment in April. 1777, and on 10 May 1777 was promoted to
Lieutenant. Though on 26 August 1778 he resigned his commission; by July 1779, we find him a Lieutenant of the
infantry in Lee’s Legion; ably led a detachment at Paulus Hook, August 1779. Later, on 20 November 1780, Handy
was promoted to Captain. Receiving particular praise by Lee himself for his role in the Second siege of Augusta,
April 1781, he remained with the corps till the war’s close; and returned to Maryland sometime after.
32 24 May 1781, Lee, Memoirs, p. 362.
Lieutenant Peter Johnston33
Imbibing, at a very early period of the Revolutionary war, an enthusiastic
attachment to the cause of Liberty, and sensible, that the opinions of his father, whose
political creed sanctioned the pretensions of Britain, would militate against his ardent
ambition to serve, Peter Johnston, at the age of sixteen, eloped from his College, and
avoiding successfully the pursuit of his tutors, joined the Legion as a volunteer. His
eagerness to acquire military knowledge, and unceasing efforts to obtain distinction, very
speedily attracted attention, and obtained for him, the commission to which he aspired, while
the whole tenor of his conduct evinced, that it could not have been more judiciously
bestowed. He was brave, enterprising, and where duty called, exemplary in its performance. I
will give no further proof of it, than his intrepid conduct at the siege of the post at Wright’s
Bluff [Fort Watson or Scott’s Lake], where [p. 132.] the removal of the abbatis, under the
immediate fire of the British riflemen, connected with the appalling erection of the Mayham
[Maham] Tower, struck the enemy with so great a panic, as to cause an instantaneous
To the end of the war, he still acquired an increase of reputation, and so
completely gained the favour of the parent he had offended, as to be received, on his return
to the domestic circle of his family, not only with affection, but pride. Pursuing the study of
the Law, he rapidly obtained professional reputation; and now promoted to a seat on the
bench of Judges, is equally admired for the wisdom and justice of his decrees.
Cornet in the Legion
Of Middleton, I would speak with justice, equal to his merit. It would, indeed, be a
sacred duty were I competent to perform it. He was ever “the man nearest my heart.”
Brought up together from infancy, and united in our progress through life, by ties of the most
disinterested friendship, he was to me as a brother; and I can with truth assert, that he never
obtained an honor, nor progressed a step in public favor, which did not occasion, in my
bosom, a sensation of delight, as perfect as if the merit had been my own. Every attention
that could induce a man of less exalted feeling, of patriotism less pure, to remain in England
at the commencement of hostilities, were held out to him. Wealth, connexion [sic],
preferment courted his acceptance. A living in the established Church, of considerable
amount, was his by inheritance; [p. 133.] but superior to every selfish consideration, and
regarding the violated rights of his country, as injuries to his own honor, he nobly resolved,
by the devotion of his life to her service, to become her defender, and ward off the
exterminating blow, which the resentments of a merciless administration had denounced
against her. Quitting Europe, and arriving safely on the American shores, he joined the
Southern Army, and offering himself as a volunteer for promotion, speedily exhibited so
many instances of gallantry, and so great an ardour for enterprise, as to be rewarded with a
33 Johnston (1763-1841), from Osborne’s Landing, Virginia, was originally intended by his family for the church;
but, at the age of 16, without informing his father, ran off and enlisted in the Legion. Evidently, and as later proven,
he was an able and intelligent lad for he quickly arose in the ranks. At Fort Watson, in mid April 1781, he led the
assault on the works there, and was later commended before the unit for his bravery. Following war’s end, Johnston
settled down to study law; subsequently becoming the eminent Judge and jurist Garden speaks of him as. Further of
note, he was the father of Joseph Eggleston Johnston, famed Confederate Civil War general.
34 23 April 1781. Lee, Memoirs, pp. 331-332.
35 According to Heitman, Middleton (from South Carolina) was a Lieutenant in the Legion from 1780-1782. He died
in Charleston, 14 November 1784.
Cornetcy in the Legion. No youthful candidate for fame could ever, with greater success,
have acquired the admiration of his superiors, the love of the troops serving under him, the
perfect esteem and friendship of his brother Officers. His career was short. He but lived to
witness the expulsion of the enemy from our Capital, when seized by a mortal disease, he fell
its victim. The regrets of every class of the community, affording the highest proof of his
estimable character, his talents, and his virtues.
of the Legion Infantry.
Perhaps a more striking instance of the irregular action of fear upon the human
mind, was never exhibited than at the battle of Eutaw [Springs.] Early in the action, Mr.
Clement Carrington, then a volunteer in the Legion, received a wound which incapacitated
him from advancing with his corps, successfully charging the British with the bayonet. He
was leaning on his spontoon, anxiously regarding the intrepid exertions of [p. 134] his
companions, when a militiaman, flying from the field, appeared immediately in his front,
rushing directly on him with the blind impetuosity of terror. Carrington, finding that he must
be overturned, unless he could arrest his flight, crossed his spontoon over his breast, the more
effectually to check his progress, and upbraiding his cowardice in an authoritative tone,
commanded him to halt. The terrors of the fugitive were too highly excited to suffer control,
he snatched the weapon opposed to him from the hands of Carrington, and passing the blade
of it through his body, with redoubled speed ran on. To the satisfaction of his friends, the
gallant volunteer recovered – was speedily commissioned in the Legion, and at the
conclusion of the war, applying to the study of the law, has since become a distinguished
practitioner at the bar of Virginia.
Dr. Matthew Irvine.37
It would be difficult to speak with encomiums equal to his merit, of this excellent
Officer. This is no flattery; a cursory review of his services, will afford ample proof, that he
stands in need of no such aid. He commenced his career, in the cause of liberty, at the very
dawning of hostilities, being one of that distinguished band, who, pausing through the
wilderness, and surmounting difficulties, such as had never before been encountered by man,
appeared suddenly before the lines of Quebec.
In the Middle States, he served with great distinction, being present at every
action of consequence in the field, and participating in many Partisan enterprises, highly
creditable to American arms. But, [p. 135] it was in the Southern war that he acquired the
highest distinction, not only performing the duties of his profession with consummate skill,
and exemplary tenderness and humanity, but frequently serving as an able negotiator with the
enemy, and constantly employed as the confidential agent betwixt the General and the
Officers, on whose judgment he chiefly relied, in all consultations where important measures
were contemplated, and secrecy regarded as essential to success. His great fault, if fault it can
be called, was the too great exposure of his person. Possessing an intrepidity that could not
be controlled, he was frequently to be found in the hottest of the fight; and it is well known,
36 Carrington was from Virginia, and, says Heitman, was Cornet in Lee’s Light Dragoons in 1780, serving to the
close of the war.
37 From Pennsylvania, Irvine was originally a Surgeon’s Mate in Thompson’s Rifle Battalion from July to December
1775; then from 20 July 1778 to the close of the war he acted as Surgeon in the Legion. He died 31 August 1827.
For more on Irvine, see Joseph Johnson’s Traditions and Reminiscences chiefly of the American Revolution in the
South, pp. pp. 403-405.
that he was wounded at Quinby [Bridge, South Carolina],38 at the head of Armstrong’s
troops, when his proper station was in the rear of the army. His military services ended, the
celebrity he had acquired, as a skilful Surgeon and Physician attended him in private life; and
it is no exaggeration to say, that he continues the practice of his profession, with infinite
advantage to the public, and constant increase of his own reputation.
Dr. [Alexander] Skinner.39
I had, during the last campaign in the South, continued opportunity of witnessing
the eccentricities of this extraordinary character; but while I admired his facetious and
entertaining conversation, his exquisite humour, and occasional exhibition of sportive or
pointed irony, I could not but consider him as a very dangerous companion. Colonel Lee has
stated, that he had a dire objection to the field of battle, yet in private society always ready
for a quarrel; it might be truly asserted, [p. 136] that it required infinite circumspection not to
come to pints with him, since he really appeared to consider tilting as a pleasing pastime, and
he was (as an Irish soldier once said of him) “an honest fellow, just as ready to fight as eat.”
In his regiment, and among his intimates, he was regarded s a privileged man, and allowed to
throw the shafts of his wit impunity. This was a fortunate circumstance, as he would at any
time rather have risked the loss of his friend, than the opportunity of applying satirical
observation in point. When first he appeared in the lower country, he wore a long beard and
huge fur cap, the latter through necessity, the first from some superstitious notion, the
meaning of which it was impossible to penetrate. An officer, who really esteemed him,
asking him “why he suffered his beard to grow to such an unusual length,” he tartly replied,
:It is a secret, Sir, betwixt my God and myself, that human impertinence shall never
penetrate.” On a night alarm, at Ninety-Six, as Colonel Lee was hastening forward to
ascertain the cause, he met Skinner in full retreat, and stopping him, said, ‘what is the matter
Doctor, whither so fast – not frightened I hope?” “No, Colonel, no,” replied Skinner, “not
absolutely frightened, but, I candidly confess, most damnably alarmed.” His strong
resemblance to the character of Falstaff, which Colonel Lee has also noticed, was very
remarkable. “He was witty himself, and the cause of wit in others.” Like the fat knight, too,
in calculation of chances, not over scrupulous in distinctions between meum and tuum;40 and,
I should decidedly say, in his narrations of broils and battles, too much under the influence of
Shrewsbury clock. I have seldom met with a man more fond of good and dainty cheer, or a
more devoted idolater of good wine; but when they were not to be met with, the plainest
food, and most simple liquor, were enjoyed with the highest relish. [p. 137]
A lady of the lower country, addressing herself to a young officer who had been
much accustomed to enjoy every species of luxury, asked, ‘how he had supported the
privations experienced during the last campaign in the interior?” he replied “that hunger
made a simple rasher on the coals, as delicious as the most sumptuous fare, and that where
wine could not be obtained he relished whiskey.” “I am grieved, my young friend,” said
Skinner, with great gravity, “mortified, beyond expression, to hear such a declaration from
your lips, since it has long been my opinion, that the man who would drink so mean a liquor
as whiskey would steal.”
38 17 July 1781, Lee, Memoirs, p. 390.
39 Skinner was initially Surgeon in the 1st Virginia Regiment, 26 October 1776; but by 1780, was a Surgeon in the
Legion where he remained till the war’s close. For a sketch of him by Lee himself see Memoirs, p. 382n. It seems
more than reasonable to assume Skinner was in some measure the model and inspiration of the “Captain Porgy”
character in William Gilmore Simms’ historical novel The Partisan (1835), and also Eutaw (1856); a character,
incidentally, roundly deplored and lamented by reviewer Edgar Allen Poe and pointed out as one of The Partisan’s
signal weaknesses; (keeping in mind, of course, that Poe’s criticism is directed at the author’s fictional personage
being ill fitted to the work; rather than a real life person.) See Southern Literary Messenger, January 1836.
40 Latin -- mine and yours.
In person, Skinner was not unlike the representation generally given of Sancho; in
his government, exhibiting extravagant pretensions to state and self consequence. Nor was he
insensible to the influences of the tender passion. He not only could love, but he believed
himself possessed of every requisite to inspire passion, particularly priding himself upon a
roguish leer with the eye, that he deemed irresistible. When disencumbered of his beard, he
was presented at Sandy Hill (the point of attraction to all the military) to Mrs. Charles Elliott,
the amiable and benevolent hostess of the mansion. The facetious Captain Carns [Carnes],
who was his friend on the occasion, indulging his natural propensity to quiz, pointed her out
to Skinner, as an object highly worth the attention of a man of enterprise. The bait was
attractive, and he bit at it with the eagerness of a hungry gudgeon. On his first appearance of
his cap, Mrs. Elliott had perceived it, and retiring, for an instant, returned with an elegant
military hat, which she placed on his head, and gracefully bowing, run off. Skinner was mute
with astonishment – he looked at the hat, and at the lady [p. 138] and then at the hat again,
and turning to his friend, seemed, in the language of Falstaff, to say –
“Her eye did seem to scorch me like a burning glass.”
The expression of his countenance was, to Carns, a sufficient indication of the
agitation of his bosom. The hint was not lost. “Well,” he feelingly exclaimed, “if ever a
broad and palpable invitation was given, this certainly, may be considered as such! Why,
Skinner, what charm, what philter do you use to produce such havoc?” “Fie, fie,” said the
enraptured Doctor, adjusting his dress, and rising upon tip-toe, “Tempt me not, my friend,
and make myself ridiculous. Mine is not a figure to attract the attention of a fair lady – it
cannot, cannot happen!” “I will not,” rejoined Carns, “compliment you, Skinner, on your
personal attractions. You are a man of sense, a man of discernment, too wise to be flattered;
but I certainly have seen men less elegantly formed than you are; and altogether with that je
ne sais quoi, so fascinating, that you pre-eminently possess; besides, you have a fine, open,
healthy, countenance, a prepossessing smile, and a prodigiously brilliant and piercing eye.”
“Ah, ha,” cried Skinner, “have you discovered that? You are man of penetration! A man of
taste! Yes, Carns, I have an eye, and if it has its usual trick, its tender expression, (you
understand what I would say) I may, perhaps be happy.” Carns, for a time, gave indulgence
to the effusions of his vanity, but would not suffer him to make himself completely
ridiculous. Love was very speedily forgotten; and a kind of invitation to feel himself at
home, in the most hospitable mansion in the State, made Skinner the proudest and happiest
Falstaff maintained, that it was proper for every man “to labour in his vocation.”
Skinner asserted, “that every man had his sphere of action, beyond the limits of which he
ought never to emerge.” “Mine,” [p. 139] said he, ‘amidst the tumults of war, the conflicts of
battle, is in the rear. – There, I am always to be found. I am firm at my post. What did
Matthew Irvine get by quitting his?* -- a wound – a villainous wound! Shall I follow his
example, step out of my sphere, and set myself up as a mark to be shot at? O no! I am a
stickler for the strict performance of duty, but feel no ambition to shine beyond it.
Being asked, which of the Ladies of South Carolina possessed, in his estimation,
the greatest attraction? He readily replied, “The widow Izard beyond all comparison. I never
pass her magnificent sideboard, but the late seems ready to tumble into my pocket.”
Arriving near re bank of the river, on the night of the contemplated attack upon
John’s Island, he was asked, whether he intended to pass the ford? “By no means,” replied
Skinner. “I am not fond of romantic enterprise, and will not seek for the perilous
achievements where the elements more than the enemy are to be dreaded. The river too is
deep, and my spirits are not buoyant; I should sink to a certainty and meet a watery grave.
Death by water drinking! I shudder at the thought of it! I will remain and take care of the
baggage; and as many of you as can boast a change, may be sure to meet, at your return, the
comforts of clean linen, and the most cordial welcome I can give you.”
[Footnote in original text] *After the gallant charge by Captain Armstrong at Quinby Bridge,
both himself and his Lieutenant George Carrington,41 having passed the gap made in it by the
enemy, Dr. Matthew Irvine put himself at the head of the dragoons who had failed in the
attempt to cross, and made an entire company of the 19th Regiment prisoners, but in the
conflict was wounded. [p. 140]
Lieutenant [Laurence] Manning,42
And Occurrences leading to the Defeat of Colonel [John] Pyle. 43
That important consequences have resulted from accidental occurrences, and that
achievements have been attributed to foresight and judgment, which originated in some
fortuitous incident, cannot be doubted. The following Anecdote may possibly be disbelieved
by some, yet I must record it as doing honour to a fellow-soldier, to whom I was bound by
strictest ties of friendship. No man who knew Manning would question his veracity, and
from his lips I received it. Nor is it credible, that he would wander into the regions of
romance to exalt his reputation, when by the uniformity of his conduct, he was daily adding,
to the laurels universally acknowledged to be his due. I have besides, in my possession, a
letter from my highly valued friend, Judge Johnston of Abingdon, Virginia, at the period of
its occurrence, an Officer in the Legion, corroborating the principal fact, though slightly
differing in the detail. With regard to the worth and abilities of Manning, his coolness and
intrepidity, our sentiments are the same. His delineation of his talents and character I regard
as perfect. “I never,” says the Judge, “knew any man who was more remarkable for that
quality, which is called presence of mind. The more sudden the emergency, the greater the
danger in which he was unexpectedly placed, the more perfect was his self-possession, as
related to the faculties both of body and mind. In corporal vigour and activity, he was
exceeded by few; and there was an ardour about him, which characterized every thing that he
said or did. If he had enjoyed the advantages of literary culture, he would have been [p. 141]
as much the object of our admiration every where else, as he was in scenes of danger and
Most of the settlers in North Carolina, in the neighbourhood of Cross Creek, now
Fayetteville, were emigrants from Scotland, who had brought with them strong prejudices in
favour of monarchy. Few among them had imbibed the spirit of Liberty, fostered with
enthusiasm by almost the entire population in their adopted country; but, to the credit of such
as professed attachment, it must be remembered, that having once declared in favour of the
cause of America, none more courageously, zealously, and faithfully supported it. No other
foreign nation contributed so many distinguished Officers in the line of our armies as
Scotland. The intrepid [Hugh] Mercer sealed his devotion to our cause with his blood, and
died in battle. Lord Sterling [William Alexander], Generals M’Dougald [Alexander
McDougall], Sinclair [Arthur St. Clair], Stephens [apparently Adam Stephen or possibly
Edward Stevens], M’Intosh [Lachlan McIntosh], and [William Richardson] Davie, were
among the most gallant and strenuous champions of Independence. Knowing these facts, it
41 Lee remarks that during the Race to the Dan that “Lieutenant Carrington, who commanded the
dragoons near the enemy’s van, reported from time to time, in conformity to custom, by which it appeared that
Cornwallis was moving as usual…” Lee, Memoirs, pp. 239-240.
42 Manning (1756-1804), originally from Pennsylvania (and whose first name is also seen spelled as “Lawrence”),
began his army career in the 2d Canadian (also “Hazen’s”) Regiment, and was a Sergeant with that unit by early
December 1776.was; and on 1 March 1777 was made Sergeant Major. He was wounded and captured at Staten
Island, 22 August 1777; but by 19 September 1778 was back with his the regiment as an Ensign; and later, in July
1779, made Lieutenant. March 1780 found him being moved to the Legion Infantry whom he served with till war’s
finish. Interestingly, Manning’s son, Richard Irvine Manning; his grandson, John Laurence Manning; and greatgrandson
Richard Irvine Manning III, all became South Carolina Governors.
43 25 February, 1781, Lee, Memoirs, pp. 254-260.
cannot be imagined, that I could ever cherish or utter a sentiment injurious to a country,
whose sons are brave, and daughters virtuous; where beauty is adorned with its most
fascinating perfections, and manhood exhibits a vigour and activity that cannot be surpassed;
where industry has produced an almost incredible influx of wealth, and the energies of mind
an increase of literary acquirement, that places human knowledge on an eminence that it had
never before attained; -- a country where, as a student in a College of celebrity, I, for four
successive years, listened with delight to the eloquence of the amiable and enlightened
Miller, teaching, how far more congenial to the best feelings of the heart, and productive of
[p. 142] happiness to man, in the purity of genuine Republicanism, than any system of
government that the world has ever known. Where I studied the theory of morals, and
witnessed the perfection of their practice, under the immediate protection and tuition of the
first of Philosophers, and most virtuous of men, the immortal Dr. Thomas Reid. Where
Jardine, the teacher of Eloquence, honored me with his friendship; and the liberal kindness of
other Professors, of the inhabitants of the city, generally gave birth to sentiments of gratitude
and affection, that can never be effaced. Truly, then, I can assert, that prejudices are
unknown in the following narrative:
The intrigues and efforts of Lord Cornwallis, to excite insurrection, backed by a
very formidable force, had produced among the Highland emigrants a spirit of revolt, which
it required all the energies of General Greene to counteract, before it could be matured. – The
zeal and activity of Lieutenant Colonel Lee, whose usefulness exceeded calculation, united to
his acuteness and happy talent of obtaining intelligence of every movement, and of the most
secret intentions of the enemy, pointed him out as the fittest man for this important service.
He was accordingly selected, with orders to impede the intercourse of Lord Cornwallis with
the disaffected; to repress every symptom of revolt, and promptly to cut off every party that
should take up arms for Britain. Constantly on the alert, and equally solicitous to give
security to his own command, while he harassed the enemy. A secure position was, on one
occasion, taken near a forked road, one division of which led directly to Lord Cornwallis’
camp, about six miles distant. The ground was chosen in the dusk of evening; and to prevent
surprise, patrols of cavalry were kept out on each fork during the night. An order for a
movement before day had been communicated to every individual, and was executed with so
[p. 143] little noise and confusion, that Lieutenant Manning, waking at early dawn, found
himself, excepting one Soldier, left alone. Stephen Greene, attendant of Captain Carns, lay
near him, resting on the portmanteau of his superior, and buried in profound sleep. Being
awakened, he was ordered to mount and follow, while Manning, hastening towards the fork,
hoped to fall upon the track, and speedily rejoin his regiment. Much rain had fallen during
the night, so that, finding both roads equally cut up, Manning chose at hard, and took the
wrong one. He had not proceeded far, before he saw at the door of a log-house, a rifleman
leaning on his gun, and apparently placed as a centinel [sic]. Galloping up to him, he
inquired if a regiment of horse and a body of infantry had passed that way? “Oh ho.” Cried
the man, (whistling loudly, which brought out a dozen others completely armed, and carrying
each a red rag in his hat,) “you, I suppose, are one of Greene’s men.’ The badge which they
bore, marked their principles. Without the slightest indication of alarm, or even hesitation,
Manning pointed to the portmanteau carried by Green [sic], and exclaimed – “Hush, my
good fellow – no clamour [sic] for God’s sake – I have there what will ruin Greene -- point
out the road to Lord Cornwallis’ army, for all depends upon early intelligence of its
contents.” “You are an honest fellow, (was the general cry) and have left the rebels just in
time, for the whole settlement are in arms to join Colonel Pyle to-morrow, (naming the place
of rendezvous) where Colonel Tarleton will meet and conduct us to camp.” “Come,” said the
man, to whom he had first spoken, “take a drink – Here’s confusion to Greene, and success
to the King and his friends. This is the right road, and you will soon reach the army; or rather
let me conduct you to it myself.” “Not for the world, my dear fellow,” replied Manning;
“your direction is plain and I can [p. 144] follow it. I will never consent, that a faithful
subject of his Majesty should be subjected to the danger of captivity or death on my account.
If we should fall in with a party of rebels, and we cannot say that they are not in the
neighborhood now, we should both lose our lives. I should be hanged for desertion, and you
for aiding me to reach the British army.” This speech produced the effect he desired. The
libation concluded, Manning rode off amid the cheers of the company, and when out of sight,
crossed to the other road, and urging his horse to full speed, in a short time overtook and
communicated the interesting intelligence to his commander. Lee was then meditating an
attack upon Tarleton, who had crossed the Haw River to support the Insurgents; but,
perceiving the vast importance of crushing the revolt in the bud, he informed General Greene
of his plan by a confidential messenger, and hastened to the point of rendezvous, where Pyle,
with upwards of four hundred men, had already arrived. It is unnecessary to detail the
sanguinary scene which followed. Pyle, completely deceived, and to the last believing the
Legionary Dragoons the soldiers of Tarleton, was overpowered, and with a considerable
portion of his force, became victims of credulity.
It has been remarked that “severity at first is often humanity in the end.” Its
policy, on this occasion, will scarcely be denied. As Lee permitted no pursuit, many escaped,
and spreading universal alarm, so completely crushed the spirit of revolt, that opposition to
government was put at once and effectually to rest. But had the Insurgents been cut off to a
man, would not the act have been justified on the score of retaliation? The provocation would
have sanctioned it. To Colonel [Abraham] Buford, but a little before, Tarleton had refused
capitulation. Deaf to the voice of clemency, and intent on slaughter, a charge was made on an
unprepared and unresisting foe. His heart was steeled [p. 145] against the claims of mercy,
and Lee has forcibly said, “it needed but the Indian war-dance, and roasting fire, to have
placed the tragedy which followed, first in the records of torture and death.”
Many other proofs could be adduced of Manning’s presence of mind, and cool
intrepidity in action. It is grateful to me to mention one of these. At the battle of Eutaw, after
the British line had been broken, and the Old Buffs,44 a regiment that had boasted of the
extraordinary feats that they were to perform, were running from the field, Manning, in the
enthusiasm of that valour for which he was so eminently distinguished, sprang forward in
pursuit, directing the platoon which he commanded to follow him. He did not cast an eye
behind until he found himself near a large brick house, into which the [New] York
Volunteers, commanded by [John Harris] Cruger, were retiring. The British were on all sides
of him, and not an American Soldier nearer than one hundred and fifty or two hundred yards.
He did not hesitate a moment, but springing at an Officer who was near him, seized him by
the collar, and exclaiming in a harsh tone of voice – “damn you, sir, you are my prisoner,”
wrested his sword from his grasp, dragged him by force from the house, and keeping his
body as a shield of defence from the heavy fire sustained from the windows, carried him off
without receiving any injury. Manning has often related, that at the moment when he
expected that his prisoner would have made an effort for liberty, he, with great solemnity
commenced an enumeration of his titles – “I am Sir, Henry Barry,45 Deputy Adjutant General
of the British Army, Captain in the 52d Regiment, Secretary to the Commandant of
Charleston [Nisbit Balfour.]” “Enough, enough, sir,’ said the victor, “you are just the man I
was looking for; fear nothing for your life, you shall screen me from danger, and I will take
special care of you.” [p. 146]
He had retired in this manner some distance from the brick house, when he saw
Capatin Robert Joiett [Jouett] of the Virginia line, engaged in single combat with a British
Officer. They had selected each other for battle a little before, the American armed with a
broad sword, the Briton with a musket and bayonet. As they came together, a thrust was
44 The 3d Regiment of Foot. In fairness to the unit, a not insignificant number of its privates were relatively new
recruits; and given that acquitted themselves at Eutaw Springs well enough and despite (and even conceding) what
Garden speaks of otherwise. Referring to the British at Eutaw generally, Greene comments (in a missive to Pres.
Thomas McKean, of 11 Sep. 1781) “...and I could hardly tell which to admire most the gallantry of their Officers or
the bravery of the Troops. They kept up a heavy and well directed fire, and the Enemy returned it with equal spirit
[as the North Carolina Continentals did], for they really fought worthy of a better cause, and great execution was
done on both sides.” See as well, Lee, Memoirs, p. 467n.
45 (1750–1822) and see regarding this same occurrence at Eutaw Lee, Memoirs, p. 470.
made at Joiett, which he happily parried, and both dropping their artificial weapons, being
too much in contact to use them with effect, resorted to those with which they had been
furnished by nature. They were both men of great bulk and vigour, and while struggling,
each anxious to bring his adversary to the ground, a grenadier who saw the contest ran to the
assistance of his Officer, made a lunge with his bayonet, missed Joiett’s body, but drove it
beyond the curve of his coat. In attempting to withdraw the entangled weapon, he threw both
the combatants to the ground; when getting it free, he raised it deliberately, determined not to
fail again in his purpose, but to transfix Joiett. It was at this crisis that Manning approached –
not near enough, however, to reach the grenadier with his arm. In order to gain time, and to
arrest the stroke, he exclaimed in an angry and authoritative tone -- “You damn’d brute, will
you murder the gentleman?” The Soldier, supposing himself addressed by one of his own
Officers, suspended the contemplated blow, and looked around to see the person who had
thus spoken to him. Before he could recover from the surprise with which he had been
thrown, Manning, now sufficiently near, smote him with his sword across the eyes, and
felled him to the ground; while Joiett disengaged himself from his opponent, and snatching
up the musket, as he attempted to rise, laid him dead by a blow from the butt end of it.
Manning was of inferior size, but strong and remarkably well formed. Joiett, literally
speaking, [was] a giant. This, probably, [p. 147] led Barry, who could not have wished the
particulars of his capture to be commented on, to reply, when asked by his brothers Officers,
how he came to be taken, “I was overpowered by a huge Virginian.”*
The reputation of a Soldier, so highly distinguished both for valour and
discernment, whose firmness enabled him, in all emergencies, to maintain a composure that
neither difficulty nor danger could disturb, has caused a the honour of giving birth to
Manning to be claimed both by Ireland and America. If my recollection is accurate, he
certainly declared himself a native of Carlisle in Pennsylvania. Yet, when I remember the
general tenor of his conversation – “the facility he possessed of involving in obscurity, the
subject he meant to elucidate” – the accent on his tongue – the peculiar turn of his expression
– his calling for example to his servant, walking with naked feet over ground covered by
heavy frost – “Shall I never teach you discretion, Drone! – If you will go bare foot, why the
Devil don’t you put on your blue stockings.” And on another occasion, returning to camp,
and looking at a bottle of spirits, half emptied, which he had left full – “Speak quickly,
Drone, you big thief, and tell me what you have done with the remainder of my liquor?” My
opinion is staggered, and I am inclined to acknowledge the superior claims of Ireland.
[Footnote in original text] * Henry Barry was an eccentric character. He aimed at singularity
in words as well as actions. He would send “his bettermost kind of compliments” to a lady;
and, in a simple flower, present “the sweetest of all possible flowers.” But in nothing was his
conduct regarded as so farcical, as in his claim to delicate and liberal feelings. On one
occasion, it has been stated, that reading a Poem, of his own composition, on the blessings of
Liberty, a gentleman present asked his frankly “How his actions could be so much at
variance with this principles he professed?” “Because, Sir,” he unblushingly replied, “I am a
Soldier of fortune, seeking a strong and comfortable establishment. My feelings are as
delicate as yours, or any other man’s; but I never suffer myself to be humbugged by them.”
The day at Eutaw was certainly not his fighting day; but he is said to have distinguished
himself in India. [p. 148]
Manning, at the conclusion of the war, married into a highly respectable family, and
settled in South Carolina. His attachment to a military life continuing unabated, he became a
candidate for the appointment of the adjutant General of the Militia of the State, obtained it,
and performed the important duties attached to t, with the applause of the public, till his
death. [p. 149]
Having briefly sketched the characters, and detailed the services of several of the
Officers of the Legion, I am confident that I shall gratify my readers, by recording a few
interesting Anecdotes relating to the Soldiers of that corps. In proportion as they were
removed from that rank in society, in which an enlargement of ideas, and expansion of mind
was to be looked for, must be their merit, who, under the exalted influences of military and
patriotic enthusiasm, evinced a nobleness of soul, and chivalric intrepidity, increasing their
own fame, and giving a higher stamp of celebrity to the American character. I fondly hope,
that they will be received with cordiality by every patriotic bosom.
When the importance of wresting the possession of the Stockade Fort at Ninety-
Six from the enemy, was clearly ascertained, Lieutenant Colonel Lee, to whom the charge of
directing all operations against it, was intrusted [sic] by General Greene, adopted (it must be
acknowledged too hastily) the opinion, that it might be effected by fire.46 Accordingly,
Sergeant Whaling, a gallant, non-commissioned Officer, who had served with zeal and
fidelity from the commencement of the war, and whose period of enlistment would have
expired in a few days, with twelve privates, were sent forward in open day, and over level
ground that afforded no cover to facilitate their approaches, to accomplish this hazardous
enterprise. Whaling saw [p. 150] with certainty, the death on which he was about to rush, but
by prospect of which he was unappalled. He dressed himself neatly – took an affectionate but
cheerful leave of his friends, and with his musket slung over his shoulder, and a bundle of
blazing pine torches in his hand, sprung forward for the object of his attack. His alacrity
inspired the little band with courage. They followed him closely up to the building around
which the Stockade was erected, before the troops within fired a shot. Their aim was
deliberate and deadly. But one individual escaped with life. Whaling fell deeply lamented by
every Officer and Soldier of the Legion. Instead of the rash and unavailing exposure to which
he was subjected, all admitted his just claim to promotion – grieved that his valuable life was
not preserved for those services he had so often shown himself so capable of rendering.
Poor Whaling! – the Soldier’s cherished hope was denied him,
“When all his toils were past,
Still to return, and die at home at last.”
It was at Ninety-Six also, that another Soldier of distinguished merit lost his life,
and unhappily under circumstances peculiarly distressing. Captain Michael Rudolph
commanded the detachment of the infantry on duty on the night after the arrival of the
Legion from Augusta, where the corps had been employed, during the early part of the siege
of the post now threatened, in bringing Colonel Browne [loyalist, Thomas Brown], and his
command, to terms of submission. Sergeant Mitchell went the rounds with Rudolph, after
having two hours before planted [p. 151] the centinels at their posts. Unhappily, among them
were several militiamen, who had never before seen service. One of these, without
challenging, fired at the relief with which Rudolph and Mitchell were approaching his
position, and shot Mitchell through the body. He fell to the ground—told his Captain that he
was mortally wounded—warmly pressed his hand—asked if he had ever neglected or
omitted any of the duties of a faithful Soldier and true Patriot—regretted that he had not
closed his life on the field of battle, and conjuring him to bear evidence, that he died without
fear, and without a groan, expired! He was a Virginian from the County of Augusta. I fondly
hope that this tribute to his memory, may reach his friends. Whaling [incidentally] was a
46 That is by setting the stockade fort on fire; the date for the attempt of which was 12 June 1781. See Lee, Memoirs, 373-374.
Bulkley and Newman.
Among the incidents in the Southern Army, that excited the highest interest, was
the singular and romantic friendship which united two of the most distinguished Soldiers of
the Legionary Cavalry. Bulkley and Newman were natives of Virginia, born in the same
neighborhood, and from early infancy united by such a congeniality of sentiment, that it
almost appeared as if one soul gave animation to both. Their attachment increased with their
years—it strengthened with their strength. As school fellows they were inseparable; their
task was the same, and he who was first perfect in acquiring it, was unhappy till he had
impressed it, with equal force, on the mind of his friend. When an appeal to arms, at the
dawn of our Revolution, had called forth the youthful heroes of America to fight the battles
of their country, and defend her violated [p. 152] rights, both, on the same day, and animated
with the same enthusiastic devotion to her cause, were enrolled in the ranks of her armies.
The officers of the Legion, who yet survive, can testify, that through all the perils and
difficulties of the Southern War, each seemed more anxious for the safety and alleviation of
the sufferings of his friend, than his own. In action they invariably fought side by side; in the
more tranquil scenes of encampment, they were constantly engaged in the same pursuits;
their toils and pleasures were the same. When at Quinby [Bridge], the memorable charge was
made on the 19th British Regiment, by the intrepid Armstrong, Bulkley and Newman were
among the few Dragoons, who, having leapt the gap in the bridge, which the enemy were
industriously attempting to widen, were able to support their commander. The display of
gallantry exhibited could not have been surpassed. Armstrong, seconded by George
Carrington, his Lieutenant, his gallant Sergeant Power, the brave Captain M’Cauly [James
McCauley], of the militia [Marion’s Brigade], and less than a dozen of his own troopers,
actually cut his way through the entire regiment, when a heavy and fatally directed fire
produced a most direful catastrophe. Power fell desperately wounded; and the youthful
friends, Bulkley and Newman, closed their brilliant career in the path of glory forever.
Mortally wounded at the same instant, they fell on the same spot, and with united hands,
reciprocating kindness to the last, expired.
Corporal [James B.] Cooper.47
Making a tour to the North, in the year 1817, I was invited to visit the Franklin,48
then lying at Chester, in company with the Commodores [Alexander] Murray and [Richard]
Dale, and several other officers of distinction. On our passage to the ship, some mention
being made of Carolina, a naval officer present, said, “I do not believe there exists at this
day, an individual who has a more perfect knowledge of the Southern War of the Revolution
than myself, particularly, all that relates to the battles fought in the Carolinas. I entered those
States with the Legion commanded by Harry Lee, and witnessed the conclusion of our toils
at the evacuation of Charleston.” “Under such circumstances, Sir,” I immediately replied, “it
must be my good fortune to be in the company with an old companion, for I had the honor of
holding a commission in the infantry of that regiment, and was, like yourself, attached to the
command which took possession of Charleston, when given up by the British.” “I am, Sir,”
rejoined the officer, “altogether at a loss even to guess at your name; nor do I recollect ever
to have seen you before. Attached to the Legion, you must have known Armstrong, who
commanded the Sorrel Troop, and probably have heard of Corporal Cooper, who belonged
47 For more on Cooper, who incidentally hailed from New Jersey, see Joseph Johnson’s Traditions and
Reminiscences chiefly of the American Revolution in the South, pp. 405-414, and also Notes On Old Gloucester
County, New Jersey (1917) compiled and edited Frank H Stewart, pp. 132-138.
48 The Franklin, a 74 gun ship and the first such built and used by the United States Navy, was launched in
Philadelphia in August 1815 by naval architects Humphreys and Penrose. Eminent maritime historian Howard I.
Chapelle remarks “(H)er appearance was much admired,” The History of the American Sailing Navy, p 284.
to it.” “Good heavens, Cooper,” I exclaimed, with delight, “is it you? I now am astonished at
my own forgetfulness, for I as thoroughly recognize you as if we had parted but yesterday!” I
mentioned my name in turn, and was happy to find I was not forgotten by him. I am
confident that, on this occasion, the sensation of delight and good feeling to men who had
served and suffered together, was strongly experienced by both. The surprise and satisfaction
of the moment being at an end, Cooper, with a significant smile, said, “By the by, I believe
you were one of the officers who sat on the court-martial when I was in jeopardy, and
brought to trial at our encampment, near the Ashley River.” “No, Cooper,” I replied, “I was
not; though I well remember, on another occasion, when we lay at M’Pherson’s, that in
consequence of your ---” [p. 154] “Hush, hush, my dear Sir,” he exclaimed, “I find you have
an excellent and accurate memory, the les we say on that subject the better.” I had known
Cooper well; and it is no exaggeration to assert a more gallant Soldier never wielded the
saber. The character, indeed, of consummate intrepidity, distinguished very individual or
Armstrong’s troop. Disciplined by him, and animated by his example, they were invincible.
But their were traits that characterized Cooper, that entitled him to still higher
commendation. If activity and intelligence were requisite to obtain the desired information—
if gallantry to strike a Partisan blow, Cooper was always uppermost in the thoughts of Lee.
He had a soul for enterprise, and by prompt discernment, and a happy facility of calculating
from appearances of events to happen, of incalculable utility to the service. When
Armstrong, by the falling of his horse, was made a prisoner, and a flag sent out from the
British commander to say, that his servant and baggage would be expected, as he wished to
show every civility to an enemy, whose bravery could only be exceeded by his generosity to
all who fell into his power, Cooper was immediately directed by Lee, to act the part of a
domestic, and sent forward for the purpose. I mentioned my recollection of the circumstance
to Cooper, who replied, “and well I knew my Colonel’s motives;” and so perfectly was I
disposed to second his views, that while taking the refreshment which was ordered for me by
General [Alexander] Leslie, in the front of his headquarters near the British lines, I was
closely examining the course of a creek in his rear, by which I flattered myself, I should very
speedily be able to conduct and introduce him at the Head-Quarters of our own army.” He
then went on to say—“The arts used by a Captain Campbell, who tried every manner of
cajoling, topic out of my conversation intelligence of our force and position, very highly [p.
155] amused me. I acted the simpleton’s part so naturally, that I could clearly perceive, that
he believed me completely entangled in his toils. When suddenly hanging my manner, I gave
him such a burlesque and exaggerated an account of troops of dragoons and regiments of
infantry, that had no existence but in my imagination, that perceiving my drift, he angrily
exclaimed, “Damn you rascal, you are too cunning for me. Here, take a drink of grog and
depart.” I cannot conjecture why it was done; but finding that I was not to be deceived, I
think they might have done me the credit to suppose, that I was not to be intimidated; but
instead of conducting me to my Captain, I was led to and shut up in the Provost [jail], when
looking through the bars, I perceived Armstrong passing merrily along with several Naval
officers, who seemed to vie with each other in civility to him. My situation forbid ceremony,
so I called out lustily – “Hollo, Captain Armstrong! Pray have the goodness to tell me, is it
you or I that am prisoner?” My speech produced an explanation. I was immediately released;
and profiting by every occasion to store my mind with useful intelligence, in a few days left
he Garrison, a partial exchange having freed my Captain from captivity. My fortunes have
since varied very much. I have gained nautical information – have commanded a ship of my
own—have, as a Naval Officer, supported the flag of my country—and now the war being
over, find a snug berth in the Navy Yard. My varied life would greatly amuse could I detail
it, more especially, as its constant bustle but ill accords with my religious principles; for
though you might not suspect it, whenever my thoughts take a serious turn, I am professedly
a member of the Society of Friends, a genuine homespun Quaker.” [p. 156]
Although the expedition conducted against Georgetown [South Carolina]49 by
General [Francis] Marion and Lieutenant Colonel Lee, was not, from a combination of
49 24-25 January 1781, Lee, Memoirs pp. 223-225.
adverse circumstances, crowned with success. [sic] Although the flight of a guide who had
engaged to conduct Captain Armstrong and the dragoons of the Legion to a point, which
would have effectually prevented the British Soldiers, who had escaped the Legionary
Infantry, from reaching a redoubt that afforded perfect security, had given ample grounds for
the suspicion of treachery and disconcerted the plans that had promised the most perfect
triumph; yet advantages arose from it of considerable consequence to the American cause.
Colonel [George] Campbell, the Commandant, was taken, and about seventy men either
killed or taken prisoners. It convinced the British, that however great the distance by which
they were removed from the enemy, (the Continental Army being, at the period of attack, on
the borders of North Carolina) that they were still vulnerable, and at every moment subject to
attack. It checked their marauding, predatory expeditions, gave comparative security to the
oppressed inhabitants in their vicinity, and to themselves, full assurance, that to be safe, they
must continue inactive, and remain within the limits of their Garrison. It is pleasing to me, to
record the singular gallantry of a most meritorious Soldier, who, on this occasion, gained
Sergeant [John] Ord.50
In every instance where this heroic Soldier was engaged in action, he not only
increased his own reputation, but animated those around him by his lively courage. In camp,
on a march, and in every situation, [p. 157] he performed all his duties with cheerfulness and
vivacity, preserving always the most orderly conduct and keeping his arms, accoutrements,
and clothing in the neatest possible conditions. He might, indeed, be considered a perfect
At the surprise of Georgetown, being with a small party of the Legion Infantry, in
possession of an inclosure [sic], surrounding a house from which they had expelled the
enemy, the recovery of the position was sought by a British force, whose leader, approaching
the gate of entrance, exclaimed – “Rush on, my brave fellows, they are only worthless
militia, and have no bayonets.” Ord immediately placed himself in front of the gate, and as
they attempted to enter, laid six of his enemies, in succession, dead at his feet, crying out at
every thrust – ‘No bayonets here – none at all to be sure!” following up his strokes with such
rapidity, that the British party could make no impression, and were compelled to retire.
50 Ord was from New Jersey.
[Sergeant Major] Perry Scott51
There was no Soldier in the Legion Infantry, who appeared more completely to
have gained the favour of Lieutenant Colonel Lee, than Perry Scott. His chief merit consisted
in his consummate intrepidity, and readiness to engage in hardy enterprise. As often as a
Partisan expedition was in contemplation, he was invariably selected as one of the daring
spirits to insure success. I am tempted to call for the pity of his countrymen for his untimely
end, from the recollection, that in all the battles of the South, from the junction of the Legion
with the army of General Greene, till the final retreat of the enemy, he was [p. 158] noticed
for distinguished valour and activity. He was present at the evacuation of Charleston, and
shortly after disbanded; but devoted to a military life, again enlisted with his former
commander, Michael Rudolph, then at the head of a Legionary Corps, under the orders of
General [Josiah] Harmar, and as Sergeant Major acquitted himself with reputation.
The Indian War terminated, Scott knowing, that many of the Officers of the
Partisan Legion of Lee, and several of his old associates, had settled in Carolina and Georgia,
resolved to visit them, and actually reached the Cheraws with that intention. Here, for the
sake of repose, after a wearisome journey, he took up his quarters at a Public House, kept by
an old Soldier, once attached to the volunteers of Ireland, the corps commanded by Lord
Rawdon. An amicable intercourse, for a time, increased the attachment of these veterans to
each other. Scott eulogized the bravery of the Irish, and is companion was lavish in his
commendations of the Soldiers of the Legion, when unluckily drawing comparisons relative
to the merits of their respective corps, a serious quarrel ensued, which they immediately
determined to settle by the sword. The conflict was maintained with spirit and obstinacy, and
its result long doubtful, but Scott gaining a superiority and actively maintaining it, was about
to triumph, when the wide of his adversary interfering,, and putting a loaded pistol into her
husband’s hand, he discharged it at poor Scott, who fell dead at his feet. This conflict being
considered as the settlement of a point of honour no effort had been made to prevent it, but
the survivor was now arrested, and being shortly after tried for murder, was condemned and
[Garden’s anecdotes, respecting members if the Legion, end at this juncture of the main text
but continue again at page 378; and at which point we resume.]
Lieut. Ballard Smith, of Virginia,
Attached to the Legion Infantry.
Shortly after the capture of the British Galley by Rudolph, where Captain Smith
acted as second in command, a Partisan enterprise was undertaken by him, which, had it
51 British historian William Gordon, ostensibly quoting Maryland Colonel Otho Williams verbatim, gives this
account of a daring escapade of Scott’s; and which took place 6 or 7 March 1781: “The loss of the Americans [at
Weitzell’s Mill, North Carolina] was about 50 killed and wounded, that of the British probably much greater, as they
twice sustained the unexpected fire of the former. Col. Williams retired three miles and formed to await the enemy;
but as they did not advance he proceeded further, and encamped that evening about seventeen miles from the place
of action. It may be thought worthy of being recorded, that Mr. Perry [presumably Perry Scott], sergeant major, and
Mr. Lumsford [Swanson Lunsford], quarter master sergeant of the 3d American regiment of dragoons, two spirited
young fellows, being separately detached with each four dragoons, as parties of observation on the retreat; saw 16 or
18 horsemen of the British army in new levy uniforms ride into a farm-house yard in an irregular manner; and some
of them dismounted. They instantly joined their small force, seized the occasion, charged the horsemen, and in sight
of the British legion which was on the contrary side of the fence, cut everyman down, and then retired without a
scar.” William Gordon, The history of the rise progress and establishment of the independence of the United States
of America: including an account of the late war; and of the thirteen colonies from their origin to that period. Vol.
IV, p. 52, and Lossing, Field Book of the Revolution, Vol. II, p. 400n. At Eutaw Springs, it was reported that Perry
was wounded “in five places;” see The South Carolina Historical And Genealogical Magazine, vol. XVIII, July
1917, No. 3, p. 142. Respecting Scott’s (again as “Sgt. Perry,” if the same person) reportedly interposing (not unlike
a giant sent by Providence) to save William Washington’s life at both Cowpens and Eutaw Springs, see Stephen E.
Haller’s William Washington; Cavalryman of the Revolution, pp. 92,145.
succeeded, must have filled the British garrison with confusion and dismay. A tavern, called
at that time Dewees’, was kept at a farm house about two miles from Charleston. To this the
British [p. 379] officers frequently repaired for recreation. It was often the scene of
entertainments, and on one occasion of a splendid ball. Lieutenant Smith being previously
apprized [sic] of this, took with him twelve men, and Sergeant Du Coin, of the Legion, a
soldier of tried courage, and passed the river with a boat rowed with muffled oars, from the
American, to the opposite shore. The night was dark and gloomy. The Negro who served as a
guide, bewildered by it, and probably apprehensive of consequences if discovered, missed
the landing place, and ran the boat into the marsh that skirted the shore. Du Coin, to make
discoveries, slipped silently overboard, but, from the softness of the mud, with infinite
difficulty reached the shore, immediately below the house. Curiosity led him to see what was
passing within; the noise of music and revelry facilitated his approach, he leapt the fence,
and passing through the garden, gained access to a window, through which he perceived a
large and elegant assemblage of company enjoying the delights of dancing. Alone and
unarmed, and without chance of success, he returned to the water’s edge, and after
ascertaining the exact situation of the landing place, regained the boat. So much time had
already been lost, the ebbing tide too being unfavourable to his purpose, lieutenant Smith
thought it best to retire, hoping to return, on some future occasion, with better success. The
following night being favourable to enterprise, the river was passed as before, and the boat,
steered by Du Coin, made the landing. Lieutenant Smith immediately surrounding the house,
entered it, in full expectation of making a handsome capture of officers, but his evil genius
forbade it. Instead of twenty or thirty officers, many of them of high rank, a Hessian Major,
and a Lieutenant of the volunteers of Ireland, who had sacrificed too freely to Bacchus, were
the only persons found on the premises. These he parolled [sic] and returned without
52 For more mention of some of the Legion, including a close call involving Garden himself when he was a member
of the unit, see also pages 62-68, 366-372, 380, 389-393, 405, 420-423, 427-428 of the 1822 edition of Anecdotes.
On page 421 in particular is found the “strict injunctions of Lee, never to enlist a British soldier, a foreigner, or a
Guidon believed to have been carried by the Legion about the time of Garden’s service; currently in the
possession of the museum at Stratford Hall. It evidently belonged to the United States Light Dragoon unit formed
in mid June 1782 and to which the by then disbanded Legion had been incorporated into.
Excerpts from Anecdotes of the American Revolution: Illustrative of the Talents and Virtues
of the Heroes of the Revolution, Who Acted the Most Conspicuous Parts Therein.
-- Second Series. A.E. Miller, Charleston, 1828. [Beginning at p. 117.]
PETER JOHNSTON, AND SOLDIERS OF THE
Some weeks, spent in the Summer of 1826, under the hospitable roof of my early
companion in arms, and justly valued friend Judge; Peter Johnston, of Abingdon, Virginia,
gave considerable increase to my collection of Revolutionary Anecdotes, particularly such as
related to the conduct generally, and gallant achievements of the officers and soldiers of the
Legion. I shall, without hesitation, record many of them, more especially such as give
evidence of the foresight, unruffled temper in the hour of peril, and intrepid conduct in action
of my friend the Judge; persuaded, that they will be perused, with as much satisfaction, by
my readers, as attended, when related, with delight to myself. I shall begin with a narrative of
the Murder of Gillies, particularly as it happened under the eye of my friend, in the first
encounter which he ever had with the enemy.
[Cornet James] GILLIES.
On the retreat of the army of General Greene into Virginia, subsequent to Morgan
s victory at the Cowpens, a rencounter took place with the enemy, which strongly evinces the
sanguinary disposition of Tarl[e]ton s dragoons [the British Legion], and the great superiority
both in strength and courage of the Legionary Cavalry. The officers of the Legion were about
seating themselves at the hospitable board of a friendly farmer, when Colonel Otho
Williams, who commanded the Light Corps, rode up, attended by a countryman, mounted on
a miserable tackey, and exclaimed, “to horse, gentlemen, the enemy are at hand.” This honest
fellow, seeing them pass his field, quitted his plough, and hastened [p. 118] to give us
information of their approach. Captain Armstrong, with a small party, were immediately
ordered forward to reconnoiter [sic], arid the countryman directed to serve him as a guide,
but he decidedly refused to do so, unless a better horse was allowed him than that which he
rode. Lieut. Col. Lee, wishing no delay, said to his Bugler, Gillies, a gallant youth, yet in
early life, “change horses with him, Gillies, you, I am confident, you do not fear to trust
yourself on his tackey.” The exchange was immediately made. Armstrong pushed forward,
and Lee, with Lieut. [Stephan] Lewis, Peter Johnston, (then serving as a volunteer, arid a
candidate for a commission) with eighteen dragoons, with all expedition followed him. After
riding a mile or more, Lee became impressed with the conviction that the countryman was in
error, and determined to return to the farm house where dinner had been left, untouched, on
the table. For this purpose he; turned into the woods, through which the nearest course to the
spot lay, and had gone but a short distance, however, from the road, when a report of pistols
was heard, discharged by Armstrong s orders, to give notice that he had met the enemy. Lee
immediately drew his men up in the wood by the roadside. When Gillies was perceived,
urging his tackey to the utmost of his speed, striking him at every step with his cap, and
smiling with the hope of enjoying the termination of the affair, not doubting but that relief
was at hand. The moment that the British Dragoons arrived at a point opposite to the
Legionary Detachment, the charge was ordered, but too late to save poor Gillies, who fell
covered with wounds. Exasperated, almost to madness, to see an unarmed, beardless boy
thus butchered while offering no resistance, the Legionary Cavalry rushed forward, and in a
few minutes fourteen of the British lay dead on the field. Their captain, and eight men, of
whom several were severely wounded, made prisoners. The remainder of the party fled and
escaped. Great prowess was exhibited in this unequal conflict by individuals.
The British had thirty-seven dragoons engaged -- the Americans, [p. 119] but
eighteen. Serjeant [Robert] Power killed two men with his own hand, the last of whom died a
martyr to his unbending, political prejudices, for, when assured that good quarters would be
granted him on the surrender of his sword, he disdainfully replied, “it is far more grateful to
me to die than to preserve my life, by yielding my sword to a rebel.” Peter Johnston, the
volunteer, must have fallen in the conflict, had not Sergeant Broom at the instant that a
deadly blow was aimed at his head by a back-handed stroke of his sabre, sliced off a
considerable pan of the skull of the British dragoon who aimed it, and caused the uplifted
weapon to fall without effect. The cry for revenge was universal, and Captain Miller, who
commanded, would have been sacrificed, had it not been ascertained that the near approach
of the main army of the enemy made it necessary immediately to retreat. The prisoners were,
in consequence, sent to Colonel Williams, who sent them again forward to Head-Quarters.
When the strong excitement of anger having subsided -- the Captain was spared.53
Interesting Sequel of the above Anecdote.
A strong and partial attachment to the country in which he had served, with
distinguished reputation, and united with it an anxious desire to meet the early companions
of his youth, several of whom still survived, induced the Judge to visit the South. He left
Richmond with that intent, in the winter of 1826, and had proceeded on his journey, as far as
Guildford Court-house in North-Carolina, when an accidental overturn of his gig put a check
to his progress. He had broken a shaft, and was not without a sufficiency of bruises, to make
a temporary suspension of his journey desirable. A happy chance pointed out a wagonmaker’s
work-shop, immediately at hand, and, at a little distance, the house of Mr. Tatam
[Rev. Henry Tatum], a gentleman, of respectability, where he was assured he would meet
with a kind and hospitable reception. It now occurred to Judge Johnston’s [p. 120]
recollection, that he could not be far removed from the spot in which he had first met the
enemy, and witnessed the massacre of poor Gillies. To ascertain the fact, he related the
adventure above stated to a company assembled around Mr. Tatam’s fire-side, and speedily
perceived by the expressive countenances of several of his auditors that the event was not
unknown to them. When his narrative was concluded, a lady present feelingly exclaimed, “I
have heard my father relate the circumstances of that appalling tragedy, and .the death of
Gillies, an hundred and a hundred times over, and without the slightest difference from the
statement you have just made. He is within a short distance -- I will summon him here. He
37 This clash with the British Legion, 12 February, 1781, took place at Bruce’s Crossroads, near Reedy Fork, in
north Guilford County, N.C. Gillies’ (1767-1781) memory was commemorated in a number of local monuments,
including one at Guilford Court House National Battlefield. For more, see Lee, Memoirs, pp. 239-243; Caruthers, A
Sketch of the Life and Character of the Rev. David Caldwell (1842), pp. 227n-229n; “James Gillies, Lee’s Bugler
Boy,” by Marie Lowrey Armstrong, Archivist, Oak Ridge Military Academy, Oak Ridge, N,C., Historic
Preservation Commission newsletter, 31 March, 2006, Issue 2, Vol. I.
will be delighted to converse with you, and I am sure you will be glad to see him, particularly
when 1 tell you that he was the individual who had provided the dinner for yourself and
brother officers, which the near and rapid approach of the enemy compelled you to leave
untouched. In a little time, Mr. Bruce, the gentleman in question, arrived. I will not attempt
to state what the feelings of two genuine patriots must have been, on meeting after a
separation of forty-two years, near the very spot where the one first engaged the enemies of
his country, and the other, at the conclusion of the action, with his own hands, committed the
body of the murdered Bugler to the grave. I can only judge of their sensations by the pleasure
I feel in giving it publicity. Mr. Bruce immediately offered to point out the spot where Gillies
lay -- and received the kind offers of hospitality which had, at first distinguished his feelings
towards as the officers of the Legion, and a refusal of them was only accepted, on the Judge s
pleading urgent business, which compelled him to go forward. When about to depart, he
asked, as usual, “what was to pay for the shelter and entertainment afforded him.” “Sir," said
Mr. Tatam, “a word on the subject would cruelly wound my feelings, your account with me
was settled in the year 1781. Your conduct was a receipt in full.” [p. 121]
The conduct of Lee upon this, as well as every other occasion, was highly
honourable to him. Envy, hatred and malice have, on various occasions, assailed his
character. Even personal courage has been denied him, but how is it possible to think ill of a
man, of whom that intelligent Soldier, General Charles Lee said -- “this gallant youth came a
Soldier from his mother s womb.” Of whom General Greene said, in a letter, dated February
18, 1782, “Lieut. Col. Lee retires, for a time, for the recovery of his health. I am more
indebted to this officer, than to any other, for the advantages gained over the enemy in the
operations of the last campaign, and should be wanting in gratitude, not to acknowledge the
importance of his services, a detail of which is his best panegyric.” Who, in the memorable
whiskey insurrection, was selected by General Washington to march into the interior of
Pennsylvania, to put down, by his activity and decision, a revolt so disgraceful to America --
and of whom Lord Cornwallis was known to say – “I am never at my ease when I know Lee
to be in my neighbourhood, for he is prompt to discover the weak points in the position of
my command, and certain to strike at them, when I am least prepared to repel his attacks.” I
doubt if the calumnies which were leveled at his character ever reached him. Had they been
communicated, I have not a doubt but that in the language of the Great Fabius, when
reproached for avoiding a general engagement with Hannibal, he would have said -- “I
should be a coward, indeed, if I were to be terrified into a change of conduct by groundless
clamours and reproaches. The man is unfit to be trusted, who can be influenced by the
clamours or caprice of those he is appointed to command.” [p. 122]
That implicit confidence should not be placed in the reports of deserters, has often
been exemplified. Lieut. Col. Lee, in his Memoirs detailing the most interesting occurrences,
which took place at the siege of Augusta, gives a striking example in point.* He states, that
while rapid approaches were made by the besiegers against the British Post, commanded by
Colonel Brown, an intelligent Sergeant of Artillery, who had pretended desertion expressly
for the purpose of destroying the Maham Tower, likely from its commanding height to force
a surrender, succeeded so far, by expressions of disgust, against the service he had quitted,
and the commander under whom he had served, as to lull suspicion, and to be actually placed
in the situation the best calculated to effect it -- the Tower itself. Lee, however, reflecting on
the character of his adversary, of whom he had a very exalted opinion, and prepossessed in
favour of his military talents, concluded that mischief was contemplated, and in that belief,
removing the Sergeant from the Tower, committed him to the charge of the Quarter Guard.
Subsequent information proved the prudence of his conduct. Colonel Brown, after the
surrender of the Post, frankly declaring, that under the pretext of directing the fire of the
besiegers against the Magazine of the Garrison, the Sergeant had engaged to use every art to
gain admission into the Tower, and to destroy it. But, on the other hand, it has frequently
happened that timely information received from deserters, of the intended movements of an
enemy, has saved many a valuable life from destruction. I, with peculiar pleasure, mention
one connected with the achievements of my friend, Peter Johnson, which happened at the
same period, and at the same place, where, had not intelligence been [p. 123]
[Footnote in original text] * Vide Lee s Memoirs, p. 106.
communicated by a deserter of a contemplated attack on the trenches, Johnston and his entire
command must have been cut off. The ditch of the besiegers was occupied by that officer,
and twenty-four men. It was early in the night when a British soldier rushed into it, and said
to Lieut. Johnston – “You know not, Sir, the danger which threatens you, a party of forty
men, British soldiers and Indians, is now paraded, and ready to throw themselves on your
command, and the labourers at the head of your entrenchment, and without immediate
precaution, you will be cut to pieces.” Information was instantaneously communicated to
Captain Rudolph, who, with the Legion Infantry, was within a few hundred yards. Lieut.
Johnston, at the same time, mounting his men on the reverse of the ditch, instructed them to
remain, sitting on their hams, until an order to rise should be given; when they were suddenly
to gain their feet, and, with deliberate aim, fire on the approaching foe. In the interim, he
posted a sentinel a little in advance, in a situation in which he could perceive the first
movements of the enemy leaving their works towards him. The sentinel soon brought
intelligence that he had distinctly ascertained that the enemy were moving out of their fosse,
which was not more than twenty yards from the head of the American entrenchment. Lieut.
Johnston quickly heard, as a further evidence, the rattling of their cartouch[e] boxes, and
allowing them time to approach still nearer, gave the word to rise and fire. The effect was
The British, instead of surprising, were themselves surprised. Contrary to
expectation, they found their enemy prepared for their reception, and a very considerable
portion of their force being cut off, the survivors fled with precipitation, and sought safety
within their fortification. [p. 124]
Interesting interview between Lieut. JOHNSTON and MANNERING, a Legionary Soldier.
In the Anecdotes of the Revolution, already published, the singular interview
which took place between Cooper of the Legion and myself, is particularly detailed. I have
lately heard from my friend, Peter Johnston, of one which occurred between himself arid a
Legionary Soldier, which has equal title to be recorded. The Lieutenant, now Judge Johnston,
was riding his circuit, and stopped at a stream to water his horses, where a wagoner had
halted his team for a similar purpose. There was something in the man s countenance that
reminded the Judge of a former acquaintance, and he said, “permit me, my friend, to ask if
your name is not Mannering.” “Yes, Sir, (replied the wagoner, it is.") “Did you ever serve,”
rejoined the Judge? “I did, Sir, in the Legion commanded by Henry Lee, I was attached to the
infantry of that corps.” “Do you remember your Lieutenant, friend?” (continued the Judge)
“What! little Peter Johnston; O, full well do I remember him, the soldier s friend, as fine a
white haired and spirited a youth as ever served.” Then, “give me your hand, Mannering, and
know that I am that very man.” “You that man,” replied the wagoner, “impossible, Peter
Johnston was a very likely youth, with light hair and fair skin, and you old gentleman are
infirm and weather-beaten, and over and above, grey as a badger.” A short conversation,
however, set matters to rights. I will not pretend to relate what the feelings of the parties
were, words would be inadequate to do justice to them. Suffice it to say, that the Judge was
delighted to learn that his former companion in arms had thriven in the world, and was, at the
period of their meeting returning home, having advantageously sold, at Abingdon, the crop
of the preceding season. [p. 125]
Interview between Lieutenant JOHNSTON and DENNIS HAMPTON.
I shall now record another interview between my friend and a soldier of the
Legion, which is not without interest. Not long after Congress had passed the act of March
18th, 1818, granting pensions to the surviving soldiers of the Revolutionary army, who were
reduced to indigence, the Superior Court of Law for Lee county, Virginia, was in session,
when a man, who appeared to be about sixty-two or sixty-three years of age, presented
himself before the Judge, claiming the benefit of the act. Judge Peter Johnston, who was on
the Bench, was instantaneously struck with his countenance, and impressed with the belief,
that he had served under his command in the Legion Infantry of Lee. To ascertain the fact, he
therefore put the following interrogatories. “Did you at any time serve in the Continental
army during the Revolutionary war?” “I was in that service from the commencement to the
close of the war.” “To what corps did you belong?" “To Lee s Legion.” “Were you with your
regiment when it left the Northern and joined the Southern army?” “I was.” “Do you
remember any thing remarkable that occurred on the march at Petersburg?" “Nothing but that
Colonel Lee ordered a man to be hung there for an unpardonable offence.” “Do you recollect
any particular circumstance that caused a great confusion at Guildford Court- House?” “I
only remember that a Tory was brought in a prisoner, about the time of our arrival there, who
was picketted [sic] and severely burnt in the feet and between his toes to extort intelligence,
and that no torture could induce him to speak.” “What is your name?” “William Hampton.”
There was no man of that name attached to the Legion," said the Judge. “I have given my
true name,” said the soldier, “and did belong to the Legion.” [p.126]
“Were you not wounded at Augusta, in Georgia, by a ball, which entered your
foot at the instep, and passed out at the heel?” “I was, sir, but how came you to know that.”
"Let me first ask further, who commanded your platoon when you were wounded?" “Lieut.
Peter Johnston.” “Would you know your Lieutenant if you were now to see him” “Certainly,
sir.” “Do you recollect to whom you sold a stout flea-bitten horse, on the day after possession
was obtained of the British post.” He stared intently in the Judge’s face for a few seconds,
when recollection breaking suddenly on his mind, he exclaimed, rushing forward and
extending his hand with an expression of great cordiality, “I sold him to you, sir.” “Answer
me truly then,” said the Judge, “is not your name, William Dennis?” “William Dennis
Hampton is my name.” “You certainly were Dennis, when with the Legion.” “True, sir, but
ever since my return to the neighbourhood in which I lived before the war, I have taken the
name of Hampton.” “How is that to be explained,” said the Judge. “Very easily,” replied the
soldier, “my mother’s name was Dennis, my father’s, Hampton; they were never married,
and I was known by my mother s name till her death, when 1 took the name of Hampton, in
addition to that which I had previously borne.” These multiplied interrogatories were put in
order to discover the cause of the change of name, which being explained to the entire
satisfaction of the Judge, it gave him particular pleasure to sign the certificate, which secured
a pension to a veteran, who had ever been distinguished as an intrepid soldier, and zealous
friend to his country.
JOSHUA DAVISON [Davidson], OF LEE’S LEGION. 54
Joshua Davison, a private dragoon in the Legion, who had, on all occasions,
behaved with distinguished gallantry, received [p. 127] at the battle of Guildford, so severe a
sabre wound, as to be rendered unfit for immediate service. That every facility might be
afforded for his recovery, Colonel Lee gave him permission to quit the army, and retire to his
father s house in Prince Edward s county, Virginia; and the more easily to accomplish his
54 After the war, Davidson went back to Prince Edward County, Virginia, and was residing there in 1795. By 1823,
he had moved to Franklin, Kentucky, and in 1833 was living in Nicholas County, Kentucky; from where he
successfully applied for a pension, #S1182.
journey, allowed him to take his charger along with him. The injury received, was in his right
shoulder, which totally incapacitated him from using his sword-arm. Before his recovery was
perfected, the invasion of Virginia was effected by Lord Cornwallis, and Tarl[e]ton, with his
usual activity, was scouring the country in every direction; his particular aim being to destroy
the stores said to be deposited at Prince Edward’s Court-House. Davison hearing that a large
body of British cavalry was near the spot which he inhabited, resolved at once to take a look
at the enemy he had so often encountered ; and his sword-arm being useless, loaded an old
squirrel gun, and set out in search of them. It accidentally happened, that passing through a
thick wood, he came upon a road, along which Tarlton had, but a moment before, led his
command. Determined to take a nearer view, he at once fell into, and followed on their trail.
He had, however, advanced but a small distance, when he perceived a British dragoon, who
had been plundering in the rear, rapidly advancing, who drawing his sword, exclaimed,”
surrender immediately, you rebel rascal, or you die.” “Not so fast, my good fellow,” replied
Davison, “I am not prepared to yield” when raising his squirrel gun, with his left hand, he
fired it off, and laid his adversary dead at his feet; seized his horse and plunder, and carried
them off in triumph. Some years after, a gentleman asking him if he had been satisfied by
killing a single man?" By no means,” he replied; “I re-loaded my piece, and went in pursuit,
but my firing had excited such alarm, and Tarlton fled with such expedition, that I could
never have overtaken him, or I would have had another shoot [shot?].” [p. 128]
ROBERT HARVEY, OF THE LEGION.55
Robert Harvey, formerly a private dragoon in Lee’s Legion, lately died at
Fincastle [Virginia.] While actively engaged at Pyle[’]s defeat, his horse was shot, and fell so
suddenly and heavily upon him, that he found it impossibly to extricate himself. A
circumstance the more distressing, as a wounded Tory, who lay at a small distance, was
using his utmost endeavour to take a decisive aim with his rifle, and dispatch him. His only
chance for safety, rested on his remaining quiet under cover of his horse’s body, till
assistance could be afforded. At this moment, Captain Eggleston, with a few dragoons,
passed by the wounded man, and perceiving one of them ready to thrust his sword through
his body, forbade it, as an act of unnecessary cruelty. Harvey, observing that the Tory,
unmindful of the favour shewn, (having a better aim at men elevated above him,) was about
to fire, called aloud, “take care Captain Eggleston, or you are a dead man.” The rifle was at
the instant discharged, and the ball passed so near the Captain’s ear, that it appeared to him
that he had actually received a blow on the side of his head. Justly exasperated at the
ingratitude of the wretch he had spared, Eggleston wheeled round, and by a thrust of his
sword, dispatched him. Harvey was now relieved from the awkward position in which he lay,
happy to escape not only the Tory, but the Catawba Indians [allies of the Americans], who
were extremely active on this occasion, running over the ground for the sake of plunder,
55 Harvey was originally from Head of Elk (present Elkton), Maryland, serving in the Maryland Line before joining
the Legion. His brother, Matthew, enlisted in the Legion at about age 16 and served in Capt. Michael Rudolph’s
infantry troop; and at some point was taken prisoner and later exchanged about the time of Yorktown. Both he and
Robert served at Guilford Court House. The following is an extract from Matthew’s pension statement, #W19681,
composed by his widow, and which mentions the incident involving Eggleston that Garden describes: “…And
further that the said Mathew Harvey [after Yorktown] went to school in Bottetourt [County, Virginia] one year
immediately after he came from Maryland was discharged from service – and then commenced merchandizing, by
which he accumulated a vast deal of property – and was a very wealthy man at the time of his death – which was in
the year 1823... That his present widow Magdalen [sic] Harvey has remained unmarried ever since the death of her
husband as aforesaid to the present time – and is the widow of said Mathew Harvey dec’d. [deceased] Deponant
[sic] also understood Harvey to say that Col. Watt[’]s of said Co – and Jude [Judge] Peter Johns[t]on of Abington
[Abingdon] Va. Was also in said Legion – and that she has heard Harvey say that he knew Francis Gray (in the
Revo’y. [Revolutionary] war) Agents father; and moreover that she has heard said Harvey, and Henry Bowyer of
Bottetourt – who was an officer in Lee[’]s or [Lt. Col. William] Washington[’]s horse – talk for hours at a time
together about their Revo’y. Services – and that Henry Bowyer aforesaid distinctly recognized Mathew Harvey
aforesaid as having been in the service as aforesaid in Lees Legion in the Revo’y. war. That it was Capt. Egleston
[Eggleston] who shot the wounded Tory, and saved Harvey’s life – Harvey being then on foot – met a Tory on horse
back with a bag of provisions for Talton’s [Tarleton’s] Army – captured him and took his horse for himself &c.”
dispatching every wounded man, whether friend or foe. It gives me pleasure to state, that
Harvey, at the conclusion of the war, by active industry, acquired a very handsome fortune;
that he lived highly respected, and died regretted by all who knew him. [p. 129]
SERGEANT CUSACK, OF THE LEGION.
This important service was achieved before the Legion moved to the South; but as
the credit of it is due to a soldier of the regiment, I do not think that the recording of it in this
place, will be deemed improper. While the British held possession of New-York, a gang of
desperate marauders from that post, infested every part of the Jerseys [i.e. New Jersey.] They
were headed by FENTON, a robber of celebrity, whose activity destroyed every chance of
travelling [sic] with security. To attempt his destruction, Sergeant Cusack, having six men
under his orders, fitted up a wagon, in which such articles were exposed to view, as would,
probably, allure to plunder, his associates being snugly concealed in its body. The stratagem
proved successful: Fenton, and four of his associates, who incautiously rushed forward from
a place of concealment, were fired on and left lifeless on the spot, while a reward of five
hundred dollars, offered by the Governor of Jersey, was paid to the contrivers of it.56
I have still another Anecdote to relate, but of so melancholy a cast, as to be
considered by some of my friends unfit for publication. That great severity was exercised
towards a prisoner is true; and that it would have been unpardonable had the slightest trait of
humanity been exercised by the individual, when he first burst into the apartment of the man,
whoso life he threatened to destroy, I am ready to grant. But the ferocity of his manner, gave
just cause to apprehend that his object was to plunder, and his ultimate aim, death to the
party assailed. It is difficult, at this late day, to form an idea of the savage mode in which the
war was conducted, more especially between the native whigs and tories. I remember [p.
130] full well, to have heard a Lieutenant in the British 71st Regiment say, that a few days
previous to the battle of Guildford [Guilford], when Lord Cornwallis in vain endeavoured to
trace the movements of General Greene, and to penetrate into his intentions, a young lad was
brought into camp, who, when questioned with regard to the position of the American army,
steadily replied, “you will find it soon enough.” TARL[E]TON, who stood by, being highly
exasperated, drew his sabre, and making a chop at the youth’s hand, deprived it of one of his
fingers, saying, “Will you now tell me where is Greene.” With steady and undaunted
countenance, the reply was to the same purpose as before, “You will know time enough.”
Five times was the blow repeated, but with as little success. The youth had his secret, and he
kept it. This cruelty was exercised by a Lieutenant Colonel of Dragoons, considered the pride
of the army -- its greatest ornament. “I wish,” said Lord Cornwallis, (writing to him) “you
could divide yourself into three parts -- we can do nothing without you.” Perhaps, the same
spirit of decided attachment to the cause he supported, actuated him, and he was obstinately
silent from the fear of answering questions, which might be put to him, improperly. At all
events, the provocation was great, and examples of still greater barbarity were not wanting to
palliate, if not to excuse the act. Immediately after the arrival of the Legion at Guildford
Court-House, a countryman entered our quarters, (said my informant) having a prisoner in
custody, and said to Colonel Lee, “While I was at table with my family, this fellow burst into
the room, and putting the muzzle of his rifle to my breast, bid me deliver every thing that I
had of value, or prepare to die. I knew that no sort of trust could be placed in this sort of
gentry, and that the surrender of my property would be the signal for death. So I made a grab
at his rifle, and turning it aside, it went off without doing me injury. A severe struggle
followed, when getting entire possession of it, I struck him on the head with the butt, and
drove the [p. 131] cock-pin pretty deep into his skull. The severity of the round made him my
prisoner, and I brought him along for examination, for he seems a cunning chap, and I dare
say, has plenty of intelligence, if he can be made to part with it.” To all the questions put to
him, not a word was returned in reply. The wounded man was obstinately silent. Dr. Irvine,
56 For more on Fenton, the “Pine Robbers,” and the incident described here, see Lossing’s Pictorial Field Book of
the Revolution, Vol. II, p. 162n.
Surgeon of the Legion, examining the head, found that the skull was fractured, and that the
brain could be seen plainly through the hole made by the cock-pin. Thrusting his finger into
it, and drawing it back again, a portion of the brain remained on the point of it. “His
obstinacy must be overcome,” was the universal cry. “Picket him,” said Lee. The order was
obeyed, but without effect. A red-hot shovel was applied to the bottom of his feet, and even
introduced between his toes, but not a feature of his countenance was altered, nor did he utter
a word of complaint. “The severity of his wound,” said Dr. Irvine, “has produced
insensibility -- all feeling is destroyed -- the man must die.” “Place him,” said Colonel Lee,
to Cornet George Carrington, “under a corporal’s guard, and be you answerable for him.”
The orders were obeyed. Night came on, and Carrington was quietly reposing, when a
musket was discharged, and a loud shout proclaimed that the prisoner had escaped. The fact
was so -- the wounded man, who had been playing a part, no sooner perceived that a chance
of escape was afforded, (the sentinel placed over him, becoming careless, from a conviction
that one so much injured, could not run) than he leaped up and ran off, and though fired on
and closely pursued, could not be overtaken.
PETER JOHNSTON was originally intended for the Church, his father s great
object was to make him an Episcopal Minister; but he, himself, giving a preference to a
military profession, he clandestinely quitted the paternal mansion, and [p. 132] joined the
Legion as a volunteer, and candidate for a commission. I have already said enough of him to
prove, that he was a prudent, active and most intrepid soldier. His diligence in acquiring a
knowledge of his profession was great his attachment to literature, very conspicuous.
Whenever there was the least respite from duty, while his brother officers were seeking
amusement, or indulging in dissipation, Johnston would always be found at his studies. The
war concluded, he returned to his father s house, and was well received. His thoughts were
immediately turned to law and politics. He acquired celebrity at the bar, and was elected to
the honourable station of Speaker of the House of Representatives. He did not, however,
throw aside his youthful propensities, and actually figured as a General Officer at the head of
the Virginia Militia; but being now more inclined to civil life, he accepted the appointment of
Judge in some of the upper districts of the State, and now honoured, esteemed and admired
by all who know him, resides, in the enjoyment of great comfort, at Abingdon, in
Washington county. The Judge was early married to a lady of a most estimable character,
and particularly distinguished by her talents and accomplishments. He has been the father
often children, nine sons and one daughter, all of whom now live, with the exception of the
eldest son, who has been dead for several years, leaving a disconsolate widow, who needs
only to be seen to be admired and loved. I have often heard her declared, the very counterpart
of her mother-in-law. The sons are all active, industrious and amiable men, and the daughter,
a young lady of high promise.
CAPTAIN J. [i.e. Joseph] EGGLESTON.
I must apologize to my readers, and, in a particular manner to his family, for the
incorrectness of my statement relative to [p. 133] the impatience which he displayed at the
period that he lost his leg by amputation.* To my friend, Judge Johnston, I feel particularly
indebted for the information that has made me sensible of my error, and enabled me to
correct it. He assures me that after the decree of the attendant surgeons on the necessity of
taking off the leg, that Major Eggleston submitted to the operation with the most exemplary
composure and becoming fortitude, and that not the slightest sign of impatience was shewn
by him from its commencement till it was completely finished.
I have erred too in another respect. I have attributed to him the capture of an entire
foraging party of the British, on the retreat of their army from Ninety- Six. Now I have no
right to force upon him an honour that he never claimed. The act was Armstrong’s, and
Eggleston, with the frankness and generous feeling of a soldier, never failed to acknowledge
it. Lee, knowing that the rich settlements south of Fridig’s [also “Friday’s”] Ferry could
alone supply the enemy with the forage which they would require, detached Eggleston,
having Armstrong under his command, to the probable scene of action. An advantageous
position was immediately taken, and their approach expected with anxious solicitude. A
party of dragoons very speedily appeared, but from the mistiness of the day, their numbers
could not be ascertained, and Eggleston immediately countermanded the order to charge,
which had been given to Armstrong, till it could be satisfactorily discovered. Armstrong,
however, who was one of the best and most intrepid soldiers that ever existed, either did not,
or pretended not to hear the order of his commander, and dashed forward with irresistible
impetuosity. Disarmed the leader of the British party, and so completely put them to route,
that forty-five prisoners, together with all the foraging wagons, were taken without the loss
of a single man. Congratulated on the importance of so brilliant an achievement, Eggleston,
with great modesty, acknowledged that the credit of it was altogether due to his gallant
[Footnote from the original text] * Vide First Series [of Garden’s Anecdotes, 1822], p. 125.
[p. 134] “for had my orders been obeyed,” he said, “our triumph, in all probability, would not
have been so perfect -- a greater number of the enemy might have eluded pursuit and
CAPTAIN [William] LINDSAY. 57
With this officer I never had the honor to form an acquaintance; he had quitted the
service before I joined the Legion; but I have heard his military character very highly spoken
of, and there is one instance of his intrepidity and skilful management, in imposing upon his
enemy, that entitles him to particular commendation. To him it was unquestionably owing
that Colonel Lee, and the detachment of the Legion which he commanded, escaped captivity,
when surprised at the Spread Eagle Tavern, near Philadelphia. Lindsay, while barricading the
door of the Tavern, the more effectually to keep out the enemy, received a severe wound in
the hand, which incapacitated him from the further use of his arms. Having nothing to do
below, made his way to an upper apartment, and pretending to see the approach of friends
from a neighbouring wood, set up a loud huzza, and beckoning with great eager ness, as if to
accelerate their movements, so completely deceived the British, who imagined that a strong
reinforcement was at hand, that they galloped off with precipitation, leaving Colonel Lee at
liberty to quit the house, and retire at his leisure.
DR. MATTHEW IRVINE.
A short sketch of the services of this meritorious officer, is given in my First
Series, page 134. I am not satisfied with it. 1 have mentioned that his great fault, if fault it
can be called, [p. 135] was the two constant exposure of his person in action, being
frequently found in the heat of battle, when his post should have been in the rear, attending to
the wounded. A departure, however, from the strict line of duty was productive on some
occasions of great advantage. At Eutaw, for instance, Irvine could not avoid the temptation
of taking a near view of the battle, and seeing General Greene alone, (his aids-de-camp being
detached to different pails of the line with orders) he rode up, and assured him that he was
ready to execute any commands that he might honour him with. “Quick then,” (said Greene)
to Colonel O. Williams, “order him to bring forward his command with trailed arms, charge
the enemy with the bayonet, and make the victory our own.” The message was delivered
with promptitude, and produced all the effect expected from it. Dr. Irvine married a lady at
the conclusion of the war, distinguished for her patriotic attachment to her country, and
settled, as a physician in Charleston. Let his medical friends speak more particularly of his
57 On 16 June 1776, Lindsay was made a Cornet in the Virginia (apparently State) cavalry, and was a 3d Lieutenant
in the 1st Continental Dragoons by 15 March 1777; being wounded near Valley Forge on 21 January 1778. In April
1778, he was transferred to Lee’s Legion where he became a Captain in April 1778; but resigned his commission on
1 October 1778. He died 1 September 1797.
professional celebrity. I shall be content to say, that for humanity to the poor, hospitality to
strangers, warm and enthusiastic attachment to his friends, and perfect devotion to his family,
no man has been more beloved and admired in society than Dr. Irvine.
[End of Alexander Garden’s Anecdotes Excerpts.]
Roster of Legion Officers and Soldiers not mentioned or else not discussed by Garden.58
Most of this information is taken from Heitman and whom we more or less reproduce.
Unless noted otherwise, all listed here survived the war.
* Major Henry Peyton, Legion Cavalry, Virginia
Cornet in the Virginia cavalry, 18 June 1776; 2d Lt. in the 1st Continental Dragoons,
12th Feb., 1777, Captain-Lieutenant of Lee’s Battalion of Light Dragoons, 7 Apr. 1778;
Captain, 2 July 1778; Major, 17 February 1780. The Heitman Register states Peyton was
killed at Charleston, 12 May 1780, but this is obviously an error. Lee speaks of Peyton’s
still being alive in a letter to Greene of 25 Jan. 1781 (Nathanael Greene Papers, vol.
VII, Showman-Conrad editors, p. 197.). Quite what then became of Peyton is, to this
writer at any rate, a mystery. Some genealogical sources make reference to a Henry
Peyton dying at the age of 39 in July 1781 in Prince William County, VA.; having made
and signed his will on 22 May 1781. Whether this is the same person in question isn’t at
* Major John Rudulph, Legion Cavalry, Maryland
Cousin of Michael, and known as “Fighting Jack.” Lieutenant of Lee’s Battalion of
Light Dragoons, 20 Apr. 1778; Capt, 1st Oct. 1778; Major, -- 1781; died 8 Dec. 1782.
* Captain Henry Archer, Legion Cavalry, Maryland
Cornet in the Legion, 1 January 1779; Captain, 1780; served till close of war.
* Captain Patrick Carnes, Legion infantry, Virginia
Surgeon’s Mate, 1st Continental Dragoons, 31 March 1777; Lieutenant of Lee’s Legion,
22 April 1778; Captain, -- 1780; served to close of war.
* Captain Hurd
* Captain Ballard Smith, Legion Infantry, Virginia
Ensign in the 1st Virginia, October 1776; 2d Lieutenant, 9 August 1777; 1st Lieutenant,
18 November, 1777; Captain-Lieutenant., 12 May, 1779,. At some point thereafter,
assuming Heitman is correct with respect to the foregoing, he was transferred to the
Legion and served to war’s close. He died 20 March 1794.
* Lieutenant George Carrington, Legion Cavalry, Virginia
Lieutenant in the Legion 1779, at which rank he served till June 1783.
* Lieutenant George Guthrie (also Guthrey), Legion Cavalry, Pennsylvania
Cornet of cavalry, Pulaski’s Legion – July 1778; Lieutenant, 4th Continental Light
Dragoons – 1781.
* Lieutenant Heard, Legion Cavalry, see Lee, Memoirs p. 272.
* Lieutenant John Jordan
58 For a further Return and listing of the members of Lee’s Legion than what is given in what follows, see:
* Lieutenant Stephan [or Stephen] Lewis, Virginia
Sergeant in Lee’s Legion; Aug 1778; Lieutenant and Regimental quartermaster, 20
August, 1779, served to close.
* Lieutenant William Lewis, Virginia
Lieutenant in Legion 1778; killed 14 Sept. 1779 at Genesee, N.Y.
* Lieutenant Swanson Lunsford, Legion Cavalry, Virginia
(1754-1799) From Petersburg, Virginia, died in Columbia, S.C. Cornet in the Legion –
1779; Lieutenant in 1781. For the dashing raid he participated in March 1781, see
footnote marked in Garden’s profile of Perry Scott above.
* Lieutenant Jonathan Snowden, Legion Cavalry, New Jersey,
Ensign 1st New Jersey, 26 April 1777; 2d Lieutenant, 14 April 1778; 1st Lieutenant, 26
October 1779; transferred to Lee’s Battalion of Light Dragoons in 1780; wounded at
Guilford Court House, 15 March 1781, Aide de camp to General Hand May, 1781, to
close of war; Captain in the Levies in 1791; Military Storekeeper United States Army, 5
May, 1808. Died 25 December 1824.
* Lieutenant William Winston, Legion Cavalry, Virginia
Sergeant of Lee’s of Light. Dragoons 7 Apr. 1778; Cornet 1 Aug. 1779; Lieutenant and
Adjutant, 1781 and served to close of war. Died 1804.
* Ensign Cuthbert Harrison, Legion Cavalry, Virginia
Lieutenant Virginia Dragoons 15 June 1776; Captain 1st Continental Dragoons, 12
February, 1777, and served to ---
* Ensign James Lovell, Legion Cavalry, Massachusetts.
Ensign of Lee’s Continental regiment, 25 May 1777; regimental Adjutant, 10 May 1778;
transferred to Jackson’s Regiment, 22 April 1779; transferred to Lee’s Battalion of Light
Dragoons in March, 1780, and was Adjutant of the same till war’s end. Died 10 July
* Cornet William Butler Harrison, Legion Cavalry, Virginia
Cornet in the Legion – 1779. Died 28 Feb, 1835.
* Cornet William Middleton, Legion Cavalry, Virginia
Cornet in the Legion – 1779.
* Cornet Robert Power, Legion Cavalry, Pennsylvania
Cornet in the Legion – 1780; Lieutenant, 1781(?) Died 20 January 1811.
* Cornet Frank Thornton, Legion Cavalry, Virginia
Cornet in the Legion from 21 April 1778 to 1 January 1779.
* Cornet Albion Throckmorton, Legion Cavalry, Virginia
Born about 1740; Cornet in the 1st Continental. Dragoons--, 1779; retired 9 November
* Sergeant-Major John Champe, Legion Cavalry, Virginia
(1756?-1798?) In October 1780, Champe was sent on a secret mission (and which
required his desertion from the Legion being feigned) designed to capture Benedict
Arnold. Although the scheme failed, Champe managed to escape and make his way back
to the Legion, then in South Carolina, in about May 1781. However, Greene shortly
thereafter sent him north, “with a good horse and money,” to Gen. Washington and who
discharged Champe from further service “lest he might in the vicissitudes of war, fall
into the enemy’s hands; when if recognized he was sure to die on a gibbet.” He died in
Kentucky probably about 1798 or somewhat earlier. See Lee’s Memoirs, ch. 30, pp. 394-
411, and Boatner, pp. 193-194.
Note. The following and subsequent lists are not exhastive of all the rank and file that served in the
Legion; and a list of troopers specifically from other states, particulalrly New Jersey given their
reported numbers, is obviously wanting.
Return of the Legion, dated, 18 Feb. 1788, Richmond.
from William T. R. Saffell’s Records of the Revolutionary War, etc. (1894 ed.), pp. 113-115.
Mark Kenton, Sergeant.
Thomas Hogan, "
William Strothers, "
John Alexander, "
Charles Moorehead, "
Julias Hite, Corporal.
Richard Marshall, "
John Hopper, "
James White, "
Richard Johnson, "
Joseph Braun, "
Richard Hall, "
Andrew Coon, Trumpeter.
William Haynes, Private.
James Bland, "
John Barber, "
Robert Furgeson, "
John Fennell, "
John Purcell, "
James Swart, "
Joseph Tankersley, "
Benjamin Tyler, "
John Walden, "
John Brannan, "
William Groves, "
Charles Owens, "
William Halbert, "
Joseph Owens, "
Samuel Thompson, "
Thomas Almond, "
John Green, "
William Rogers, "
Andrew Brann, "
George Foster, "
William Binns, "
William Huff, "
William Halley, "
Thomas Thornhlll, "
William Lewis, "
Randolph McDaniel, "
William Loden, "
William Bransford, "
William Bigbee, "
William Dennis, "
Daniel Gray, "
John Fleace, "
Brothers Thompson, "
John Brett, "
John Wiggonton, "
Silas Johnson, "
John Gardiner, "
Samuel Avery, "
William Garner, "
Berry Shields, "
David Partello, "
Robert Meydon, "
Robert Fishkin, "
Green Robinson, "
Andrew Tosh, "
Robert Welch, "
Thomas Chapman, "
Richard Cooper, "
Thomas Fisher, "
Redman Cruze, "
Thomas Whitlock, "
James Selcock, "
James Hutchinson, "
Jacob Lynn, "
Wheedon Smith, "
David Hambrich, "
John Morris, "
Richard Riely [sic],"
Thomas Jones, "
William Hunt, "
Godfrey Smith, "
James Wood, "
Tandy Holman, "
Francis Ramsay, "
John Richmond, "
Benjamin Jackson, "
Isaac Fanchaw "
James Thompson, "
Charles Bryan, "
William Carpenter, "
Daniel Hailey, "
Darien Henderson, Qr. Mr's
John Champe, Sergeant.
Robert Paver, "
John Mitchell, "
Wm. B. Harrison, "
John Briggs, Private.
John Wheeler, "
James Wheeler, "
Benjamin Strother, "
William Buckley, "
George Newman, "
John Sorrell, "
Joseph Davidson, "
Peter Crawford, "
Thomas Hattaway, "
Ranson Bridges, "
Elijah Walbrow, "
Isaac Mooney, "
John Johnson, "
Minor Smith, "
Conrad Patterson, "
Joseph Asberry, "
PENNSYLVANIANS IN MAJOR HENRY LEE'S PARTISAN CORPS.59
Irvine, Matthew, resided in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1824.
Manning, Lawrence, from Hazen's [Regt.].
Power, Robert, died January 20, 1811.
McCrum, Michael, resided in Huntingdon county, 1833.
Burd, Isaac, resided in Sussex county, New Jersey, 1829.
Chambers, James, resided n Monmouth county, New Jersey, 1829.
Cogler, Adam, January 10, 1778.
Collins, William, resided at Old's Forge.
Grinder, Jacob, of Philadelphia.
59 As found in Pennsylvania in the War of the Revolution: Battalions and Line 1775-1783, vol. II; edited by John B. Linn and Wm. H.
Egle; Harrisburg, 1880, pp. 159-161
McDonald, William, resided in Baltimore county, Maryland, 1828.
Mayes, John, resided in Gloucester county, New Jersey, 1834.
Meredith, John, resided in Franklin county, Ohio, 1834.
Thomas, John T., resided in Bracken county, Kentucky, 1834, aged seventy-four.
MARYLANDERS IN MAJOR HENRY LEE'S PARTISAN CORPS.60
David Henderson, Sgt. (pay beginning 1 Jan. 1779)
Jesse Crasby (or “Crosby”), Bugler, 1st Troop (7 Apr. 1778)
James Gillies, Bugler, KIA, (1 Aug. 1780)
William French, Bugler, 3rd Troop (7 Apr. 1778)
Abraham Sutton, Fife Major
James Arrants (8 Mar. 1780)
Richard Basset (7 Apr. 1778)
John Bennet (7 Apr. 1778)
George Boice, 2nd Troop (7 Apr. 1778)
Thomas Broom, 1st Troop (beginning 7 Apr. 1778)
William Chestnut (1 Jan. 1779)
Robert Crouch, 2nd Troop (7 Apr. 1778)
William Crookshank [sic], KIA (1 Aug. 1780)
William Dowdle, 2nd Troop (12 Mar. 1780)
Joshua Harvey (1 Jan. 1779)
Joseph Hemphill (7 Apr. 1778)
George Hill, 2nd Troop (7 Apr. 1778)
John Howard (1 Apr. 1780)
Abiah Hukill (7 Apr. 1778)
John Johnson (10 July 1780)
John Kinard (7 Apr. 1778)
Thomas Manly, 2nd Troop (7 Apr. 1778)
John McColla (4th Regt. Light Dragoons, 10 Apr. 1777)
James McCracken (1 Apr. 1778)
Joseph Owens (7 Apr. 1778)
William Richardson, (miller)
Christopher Rutledge (7 Apr. 1778)
Jnonath [sic] Short
Samuel Tenkins (1 Jan. 1779)
John Jermain Thomas (7 Apr. 1778)
60 Extracted from Archives of Maryland, vol. 18, pp. 586-587.
John Towlin (16 Mar. 1780)
James Veazey (8 Mar. 1780)
John Wisham, 3rd Troop
For a more in depth listing and further returns of members of Lee’s Legion, see:
Armstrong, Marie Lowrey. “James Gillies, Lee’s Bugler Boy.” Oak Ridge Military
Academy, Oak Ridge, N,C., Historic Preservation Commission newsletter, 31 March, 2006,
Issue 2, Vol. I.
Berg, Fred Anderson. Encyclopedia of Continental Army Units. Stackpole Books,
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 1972.
Boatner, Mark M. The Encyclopedia of the American Revolution (third edition). Stackpole
Books, Mechanicsburg, PA., 1994.
Boyd, Thomas. Light-horse Harry Lee. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1931.
Caruthers, Rev. E. W. A Sketch of the Life and Character of the Rev. David Caldwell. Swain
and Sherwood, Greensborough, N.C., 1842.
Cecere, Michael. Wedded to My Sword: The Revolutionary War Service of Light Horse
Harry Lee. Heritage Books, Westminister, Maryland, 2012.
Earle, Swepson and Skirven, Percy G., editors. Maryland’s Colonial Eastern Shore:
Historical Sketches of Counties and of Some Notable Structures. Baltimore, 1916.
Garden, Alexander. Anecdotes of the Revolutionary War in America: With Sketches of
Character of Persons the Most Distinguished, in the Southern States, for Civil and Military
Services. A.E. Miller, Charleston, 1822.
Garden, Alexander. Anecdotes of the American Revolution: Illustrative of the Talents and
Virtues of the Heroes of the Revolution, Who Acted the Most Conspicuous Parts Therein --
Second Series. A.E. Miller, Charleston, 1828.
Gerson, Noel B. Light-Horse Harry; A Biography of Washington’s Great Cavalryman,
General Henry Lee. Doubleday & Co., Inc., Garden City, N.Y., 1966.
Gordon, William. The history of the rise progress and establishment of the independence of
the United States of America: including an account of the late war; and of the thirteen
colonies from their origin to that period. Vol. IV, Hodge, Allen and Campbell, New York,
Haller, Stephen E. William Washington: Cavalryman of the Revolution. Heritage Books,
Bowie, Maryland, 2001.
Hartley, Cecil B. The Life of Major General Henry Lee, Commander of Lee's Legion in the
Revolutionary War and Subsequently Governor of Virginia; to which is added the Life of
General Thomas Sumter. G.G. Evans, Philadelphia, 1859.
Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army. Washington,
Johnson, Joseph. Traditions and Reminiscences chiefly of the American Revolution in the
South. Walker James: Charleston, S.C. 1854, pp. 403-414.
Johnson, William. The Life and Correspondence of Nathanael Greene (1822), 2 Vols. De
Capo Press re-print, New York, 1973.
Katcher, Philip. Uniforms of the Continental Army. George Shumway, York, Penn., 1981.
Kennedy, John Pendleton. Memoirs of the Life of William Wirt, Attorney-general of the
United States, ["A New and Revised Edition"], vol. I [pp. 26-27], Lea and Blanchard,
Lee, Henry, the 4th (son of “Light Horse Harry.”) The Campaign of 1781 in the Carolinas;
With Remarks, Historical and Critical, on Johnson's Life of Greene. To Which is Added an
Appendix of Original Documents, Relating to the History of the Revolution. E. Littell,
Philadelphia, 1824. (Quadrangle Books -reprint, Chicago, 1962)
Lee, Henry. Memoirs of the War in the Southern Department of the United States. Arno Press
reprint of the 1869 edition, New York, 1969.
Linn, John B., and Egle, Wm. H., eds. Pennsylvania in the War of the Revolution: Battalions
and Line 1775-1783, vol. II, Harrisburg, 1880, pp. 159-161.
Lossing, Benson J. Pictorial Field-Book of the Revolution (1859), 2 vols., Caratzas Brothers
Publishers re-print, New Rochelle, N.Y., 1976.
Marshall, John. The Life of George Washington (volumes III and IV.) The Citizen’s Guild,
Fredericksburg, VA., 1926.
Maryland Historical Society. Archives of Maryland, vol. 18: Muster Rolls and Other Records
of Service of Maryland Troops in the American Revolution, 1775-1783. Maryland Historical
Society, Baltimore, 1900.
McCrady, Edward. The History of South Carolina in the Revolution, 1775-1780. Russell and
Russell, New York, 1901.
McCrady, Edward. The History of South Carolina in the Revolution, 1780-1783. Russell and
Russell, New York, 1902.
Pennsylvania, Historical Society of. Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol.
XXIX. Philadelphia, 1905.
Royster, Charles. Light-Horse Harry Lee and the Legacy of the American Revolution.
Louisiana State Press, Baton Rouge, 1981.
Rudulph, Marilou Alston. “Michael Rudulph, ‘Lion of the Legion.’” Georgia Historical
Quarterly, 45 (September 1961), pp. 201-222. See also “The Legend of Michael Rudulph.”
Georgia Historical Quarterly, 45 (December 1961), pp. 309-328.
Saffell, William Thomas Roberts. Records of the Revolutionary War: Containing the
Military and Financial Correspondence of Distinguished Officers; Names of the Officers and
Privates of Regiments, Companies, and Corps, with the Dates of Their Commissions and
Enlistments. Charles C. Saffell, Baltimore, 1894.
Showman, Richard K., and Conrad, Dennis M., editors-in-chief. The Papers of Nathanael
Greene, vols. VII, 1994, vol. VIII, 1995, vol. IX, 1997. University of North Carolina Press,
Chapel Hill, 1994-1997. Conrad is chief editor for volumes VIII and IX.
Stewart, Frank H. (ed.) Notes On Old Gloucester County, New Jersey, vol. 1, The New
Jersey Society of Pennsylvania, 1917, pp. 132-138.
White, George. Historical Collections of Georgia: Containing the Most Interesting Facts,
Traditions, Biographical Sketches, Anecdotes, etc., relating to its History and Antiquities,
from the First Settlement to the Present. New York City Pudney & Russell, 1854.
Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John; Klos, Stanley L., editors. Appleton's Cyclopedia of
American Biography, in six volumes. D. Apple and Company, New York, 1899.
Woodruff, Caldwell. “Capt. Ferdinand O'Neal of Lee's Legion,” The William and Mary
Quarterly, 2nd Ser., Vol. 23, No. 3 (July, 1943), pp. 328-330.
Wright, Robert K., Jr., The Continental Army. Center of Military History United States
Army, Washington, D.C., 1989.
“Pension Application of Matthew Harvey: W19681,” Transcribed and annotated by C. Leon
Tribble, Dorothy. “A Biography of Ferdinand O'Neal,” See O'Neal Genealogy Association
WebSite at http://www.onealwebsite.com/
A Very Special and Much Necessary Thanks to John Robertson, of the Cowpens
National Battlefield staff for his “Online Library of the Southern Campaign of the
Revolutionary War,” at http://lib.jrshelby.com/ and to Charles Baxley, of “Southern
Campaigns of the American Revolution,” at http://www.southerncampaign.org/
DID YOU KNOW?...
* Although Pulaski’s (est. March 28, 1778) and Armand’s (est. June 25, 1778) antedated
Cathecart’s or the British Legion (est. July 1778), all seemed to have been inspired and or
took their cue from the Queen's Rangers first formed in August 1776 on Staten Island by
Robert Rogers; and where horse units were combined with “rangers.” Lauzun’s Legion, for
its part, made its appearance on March 5, 1780.
* Lee’s Partisan Light Dragoons came into being April 7 1778. Then on July 13, 1779, Capt.
Allen McLane’s elite Delaware company was joined to it to form (at least on paper and in
intention though never formally realized) a “legion.” The unit was finally designated the 2nd
Partisan Corps on Jan. 1, 1781; so that the origin then of the Legion cavalry was the 1st
Continental Light Dragoons, while the Legion infantry was founded on McLane’s company.
* Most of the Legion, circa 1780-82, were Virginians, and after that men from Maryland. But
in addition to this, the unit had soldiers from Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, South
Carolina, North Carolina, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.
* The Legion’s farriers marked the shoes of the cavalry horses; so that the troopers, if need
arise, might better track each other. See LMS p. 401.61
* Was the Legion ever taken completely by surprise? Almost! While advancing on their way
into S.C. in early April 1781 (following Guilford and the sojourn at Ramsey’s Mill), the
Legion one very dark night believed itself under imminent attack by Cornwallis’ forces; only
to learn next morning that what had set off the muskets of the pickets in the bleary hours was
actually a pack of wolves scavenging the pine barrens. See LMS pp. 326-330.
* What was often or occasionally on the menu for the Legion while in the south? Bacon,
beef, corn-ash cake, corn mush, rice, sweet potatoes, and later alligators and frogs! The
horses for their part loved cane-brake and “Indian peas” (by which I believe he means
peanuts.) LMS p. 523.
* Was Napoleon's “Bravest of the Brave,” Marshal Michel Ney, in reality Michael Rudulph
(1758–1795) of the Legion infantry? Well, there is one “legend” that asserts as much. See
The Southern Literary Messenger, Jan. 1847, Vol. XIII, no. 1, p. 17; found at
=false While I don’t know myself whether it was ever done, one apparently easy way to test
this question would be to compare the handwriting of the two officers.
61 “LMS” refers to the 1869 edition of Lee’s Memoirs.
Benson J. Lossing, in his Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution, vol. II, p. 162n, relates
the following unusual story of the infamous “Pine Robbers,” and respecting the demise of
whose criminal career members of the Legion played a not inconspicuous part.
“The Pine Robbers were a band of marauding Tories, who infested the large
districts of pine woods in the lower part of Monmouth county [New Jersey], whence they
made predatory excursions among the Whigs of the neighboring country. They burrowed
caves in the sand-hills for places of shelter and retreat, on the borders of swamps, and,
covering them with brush, effectually concealed them. From these dens they sallied forth at
midnight to burn, plunder, and murder. Nor were the people safe in the daytime, for the
scoundrels would often issue from their hiding-places, and fall upon the farmer in his field.
The people were obliged to carry muskets while at their work, and their families were kept in
a state of continual terror.
“Of these depredators, the most prominent were Fenton, Fagan, Williams, Debow,
West, and Carter. Fenton was the arch-fiend of the pandemonium of the Pines. He was a
blacksmith of Freehold, large and muscular. He early took to the business of the Tories, and
began his career of villainy by robbery. He plundered a tailor's shop in Freehold township.
Already a committee of vigilance was organized. They sent Fenton word that, if he did not
return the plunder, he should be hunted and shot. Intimidated, he sent back the clothing, with
the following savage note appended:
“‘I have returned your damned rags. In a short time I am coming to burn your barns
and houses, and roast you all like a pack of kittens!’
“Fenton soon proceeded to put his threat into execution. One summer night, at the
head of a gang of desperadoes, he attacked the dwelling of an aged man near Imlaytown,
named Farr. Himself, wife, and daughter composed the family. They barricaded the door, and
kept the scoundrels at bay for a while. Fenton finally broke in a portion of the door, and,
firing through the opening, broke the leg of the old man with a musket-ball. They forced an
entrance at last, murdered the wife, and then dispatched the helpless old man. The daughter,
badly wounded, escaped, and the miscreants, becoming alarmed, fled without taking any
plunder with them. Fenton was afterward shot by a young soldier of Lee’s legion, then lying
at Monmouth court-house. The robber had plundered and beaten a young man while on his
way from a mill. He gave information to Lee, who detailed a sergeant and two soldiers to
capture or destroy the villain. The young man, and the sergeant disguised as a countryman,
took a seat in a wagon, while the two soldiers, armed, were concealed under some straw in
the bottom of the vehicle, and proceeded toward the mill, expecting to meet Fenton on the
road. From a low groggery among the Pines the robber came out, with a pistol, and
commanded them to halt. He then inquired if they had brandy, to which an affirmative was
given, and a bottle handed to him. While drinking, one of the soldiers, at a signal from the
sergeant, arose, and shot the villain through the head. His body was thrown into the wagon,
and conveyed in triumph to Freehold.
“Fagan and West were also shot by the exasperated people. The body of the latter
was suspended in chains, with hoop-iron bands around it, upon a chestnut by the road-side,
about a mile from Freehold, on the way to Colt’s Neck, where it was left to be destroyed by
“The sufferings of the people from these marauders made such a deep impression,
that the lapse of years could not efface it from the hearts of those who felt their scourge, and
even the third generation of the families of Tories were objects of hate to some of the
surviving sufferers. An old lady, ninety years of age, with whom I conversed at Boundbrook,
became greatly excited while talking of what her family endured from the Pine Robbers and
other Tories, and spoke indignantly of one or two families in Monmouth county who were
descendants of Loyalists. Philip Freneau, from whose poems I have frequently quoted, was a
native of this county. He was graduated at Princeton College in 1771. His poems, written
chiefly during the Revolution and immediately after, were vigorous, and sometimes
beautiful. He was found dead in a bog, in which he was mired, near Freehold, on the 18th of
December, 1832, and was buried in that village.”
Wm. Thomas Sherman
1604 NW 70th St.
Seattle, WA 98117, 206-784-1132
firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
http://www.gunjones.com and http://www.scribd.com/wsherman_1
For a full list of titles in the Continental Army series, see:
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Text last updated: 14 Aug. 2014.